Updated: January 21, 2021 8:10:15 am
Gorakhpur police have dropped kidnapping charges and charges filed under the anti-conversion law against a 22-year-old Muslim man from Karnataka, and booked him on accusations of rape and cheating. Mehboob Chapparband was brought to the district on Sunday along with a 19-year-old woman who had gone away with him to the southern state.
The police said the rape and cheating charges were invoked after the woman, in her statement to the magistrate on Tuesday, accused Mehboob of taking her to Karnataka by making false promises about a job for her, and also raped her there.
However, the woman denied Mehboob kidnapped her and tried to convert her to Islam.
According to the complainant, she came in contact with Mehboob through social media. Mehboob did not hide his real identity. He claimed to be working in the Merchant Navy even though he had quit his job a while ago.
“The woman has denied charges of kidnapping and anti-conversion law as stated by her father in the FIR. She also told that she was aware of Mehboob’s real identity. However, in her statement before the magistrate, the woman told that Mehboob made false promises of arranging a job for her in Karnataka and sexually assaulted her when she was with him,” said sub-inspector Raj Kumar Singh, the investigating officer in the case.
Since the woman was willing to go home with her parents, the police allowed her to do so, the officer added.
On January 5, the woman’s father had lodged a missing person complaint after she did not return home from college. A few days later, the woman’s parents came to know through her friend that she used to talk to a man over the phone. The father gave her cellphone number to the police, who tracked down Mehboob.
A week later, her father lodged an FIR against Mehboob stating that he befriended his daughter in 2019 after introducing himself as a Hindu. He alleged Mehboob kidnapped his daughter on the pretext of getting her a job at a company. He claimed Mehboob could mount pressure on his daughter to change her religion. A case was lodged under IPC sections 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc) and 363 (kidnapping) and under the anti-conversion law. A police team then went to Karnataka and brought back Mehboob and the woman.
As many as 18 cases across 16 districts have been lodged under the anti-conversion law since November 28 when Governor Anandiben promulgated the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020.
Two cases each were lodged in Shahjahanpur and Bijnor districts, while one each was filed in Firozabad, Etah, Bareilly, Gorakhpur, Moradabad, Bijnor, Kannauj, Hardoi, Sitapur, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Azamgarh, Mau and Gautam Buddh Nagar. So far, the police have booked 87 people and arrested 54. The maximum number of arrests (14) were made by Etah police, followed by Sitapur (13).
However, in three cases, including the Gorakhpur one, the police have dropped charges under the anti-conversion law on the basis of evidence.
In the Muzaffarnagar case, the police found the allegations by a woman’s husband to be false. The complainant, Akshay, had alleged that the accused, Nadeem, had trapped his wife and tried to convert her to Islam. He added that Nadeem gifted his wife a cellphone to tempt her and wanted to marry her after converting her. Nadeem’s friend Salman was also booked on the allegation that he helped Nadeem. Akshay alleged that the two of them had threatened him when he objected to it.
During investigation, the police found Nadeem did not have any relationship with the woman. However, they found that Nadeem had threatened the complainant and a chargesheet was filed against him under IPC sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation). Salman was exonerated and the anti-conversion law provisions were dropped.
The other such case was registered in Moradabad’s Kanth police station, where 23-year-old Rashid Ali was released from jail along with his brother after the woman told the magistrate that she was an adult, had married Rashid on July 24 in Dehradun and wanted to return to his family.
On December 5, Moradabad police had arrested Rashid while he was on his way to register his marriage to the 22-year-old woman. Rashid’s brother Salman Ali, who was accompanying the couple, was also arrested.
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