Monday marked one month since the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh passed a new anti-conversion law to check what it calls “love jihad”. Since the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, came into effect on November 28, records show that the UP Police has registered 14 cases and made 51 arrests, of whom 49 are in jail.
Of these 14 cases, 13 involve Hindu women allegedly pressured to convert to Islam. In only two cases is the complainant the woman concerned herself — in the remaining 12, the complainants are her relatives. In two of them, Hindu right-wing activists intervened, holding protests at the police station. In all cases but one, the woman involved is an adult. In eight cases, the couple are said to have been either friends or in a ‘relationship’; while one couple claim to be married.
One case involves alleged illegal conversion to Christianity, registered against three people in Azamgarh.
In two cases, the women, both married to other people, have refused to have their statements recorded, citing “social pressure”. In two others, women have levelled rape charges. Three of the women allegedly pressured for conversion are Dalits.
While Bijnor district has seen three cases and Shahjahanpur two, others have been reported from Bareilly, Muzaffarnagar, Mau, Sitapur, Hardoi, Etah, Kannauj, Azamgarh and Moradabad districts. In one case, the police have been unable to find the woman involved.
* Deorania Police Station, Bareilly
The case was lodged against Owais Ahmed, 24, the same day as the ordinance came into effect. Ahmed, who is under arrest, was accused of pressuring a married Hindu woman to convert, and threatening her parents. Preliminary investigation has indicated that the two were in a relationship, and had eloped last year, before they were found and brought back. While Ahmed had been arrested then too, the woman had denied in court the charges of kidnapping lodged against him by her father.
Station House Officer (SHO), Deorania, Daya Shankar said the woman, who is at her in-laws’ place, had refused to get her statement recorded before a magistrate because of “social pressure”.
* Mansoorpur Police Station in Muzaffarnagar
Nadeem, 34, was booked along with a friend, Suleman, on November 29 for allegedly harassing and pressuring the wife of a private contractor to convert and marry him. Both Nadeem and Suleman work as labourers at a factory in Haridwar, where the contractor was based earlier. The contractor, who filed the case, said Nadeem frequented their house for work and gradually developed friendship with his wife, forcing him to shift with his wife and family to Muzaffarnagar. On December 18, the Allahabad High Court stayed criminal proceedings against Nadeem. Suleman was never arrested due to lack of evidence, SHO, Mansoorpur, Kushal Pal Singh said.
The woman has refused to record her statement before a magistrate.
* Chiraiyakot Police Station, Mau
Shabad Khan, 32, and 10 others, including his friends and relatives, were arrested for allegedly kidnapping a woman, 24, on the eve of her marriage on November 30, with the intent of converting her. The woman’s father, who filed the complaint, told the police locals had told him about what Shabad, who is married, was planning. The police said efforts were being made to trace three others.
Additional Superintendent of Police, Mau, T N Tripathi said they had found the woman but had not been able to record her statement as she had tested positive for Covid-19.
* Tambor Police Station, Sitapur
Jibrail, 22, a taxi driver, and six of his family members were booked initially for allegedly kidnapping a 19-year-old woman, on the complaint of her father. A week later, on December 3, her uncle filed a fresh complaint saying he had come to know Jibrail had converted the woman, prompting the police to invoke the anti-conversion law. Jibrail has not been arrested so far, nor the woman found, though 13 others, including Jibrail’s friends and relatives, have been arrested, said Station Officer, Tambor, Amit Singh Bhadouria.
* Sahabad Police Station, Hardoi
A case was lodged against Mohammad Azad, 24, on December 11 by an 18-year-old woman, alleging rape and attemps to forcibly convert her, leading to his arrest. The teenager said she had been in a relationship with Azad for two years and that he had raped her repeatedly on the promise of marriage, later putting pressure on her to convert first. She also told the police she suspected Azad was planning to take her to Delhi and put her in the trafficking trade. While the woman earlier claimed she was a minor, the police said a medical examination and government documents proved otherwise.
In a statement recorded before a magistrate, she has supported the charges, said SHO, Sahabad, Shiv Shankar Singh.
* Kotwali Police Station, Bijnor
Mohammad Afzal, 22, a labourer, was arrested on December 10 for allegedly kidnapping a 19-year-old and trying to convert her, on the complaint of her father, also a labourer. The woman’s family moved recently from Bijnor to Chandigarh, but she had come to Bijnor for a family function, when Afzal reportedly abducted her.
She had supported the FIR charges in a statement to a magistrate, said SHO, Kotwali, Rajesh Singh.
* Dhampur Police Station, Bijnor
Mohammad Saqib, 19, was arrested for allegedly concealing his identity to lure a minor Dalit girl into marriage. The police said the two had been in a relationship for a year and he had introduced himself as Sonu, and she came to know his real identity only when they eloped on December 14. The girl reportedly returned home on her own then, and her father got an FIR lodged against Saqib on various charges, including kidnapping and under the SC/ST Act.
In a statement before a magistrate, the girl had supported the charges, said SHO, Dhampur, Arun Tyagi.
* Jalesar Police Station, Etah
On December 17, the family of a 22-year-old woman approached police saying she had been forcibly converted by her neighbour, Mohammad Javed, 28. The police say the woman had left her home with Javed on November 17 and her family did not file any complaint till she wrote to them informing them about her conversion and marriage to Javed, who runs a cloth store in Jalesar. A case was filed against six persons, including three women, on various charges, while 14 people have been arrested, including Javed’s relatives and friends. Javed remains missing.
The statement of the woman is yet to be recorded, said SHO KP Singh.
* Kotwali Police Station, Shahjahanpur
Mohammad Saeed, 32, was arrested on December 18 for allegedly coercing a 42-year-old married mother of two into changing her religion for marriage. The woman filed the FIR saying that they first met around four years back when Saeed came to her house for some work, introducing himself as Sunil Kumar. She claimed they had become friends and he had later sexually assaulted her and was now pressuring her for marriage.
Her statement had been recorded, Kotwali SHO Parvesh Singh said.
* Gurusahaiganj Police Station, Kannauj
Mohammad Taufeeq, 32, was arrested last week for marrying a 29-year-old woman after allegedly concealing his identity and later forcing her to convert. The woman’s father alleged he had posed as Rahul Verma, and that they realised his real identity only when the two went to Lucknow around 15 days back, and the woman left him to return home.
In her statement to a magistrate, the woman had supported the charges, SHO, Gurusahaiganj, Raja Dinesh Singh said.
* Deedarganj Police Station, Azamgarh
Three persons were arrested on December 20 for allegedly trying to convert their neighbours to Christianity. The accused, Bal Chand Jaiswal, Gopal Prajapati and Neeraj Kumar, were holding a prayer at the house of one Tribhuvan Yadav when the police arrested them on a complaint by neighbour Ashok Yadav. The police said the three worked as preachers, having converted to Christianity. On Monday, a court sent the three to judicial custody.
Tribhuvan Yadav has given a statement against the accused, SHO, Deedarganj, Sanjay Kumar Singh said.
* Meeranpur Katra Police Station, Shahjahanpur
Mohsin, 22, was booked along with friend Sadiq on December 17 for allegedly kidnapping a woman, taking her to Delhi, and trying to convert her before marriage, on the basis of her uncle’s complaint. The two were arrested three days later after right-wing activists held a dharna at the police station.
SHO, Katra, Harpal Singh Baliyan said the woman had backed the charges in her statement.
* Kanth Police Station, Moradabad
Rashid Ali, 23, was arrested along with his brother, on December 5, while he was on his way to register his marriage with Pinki, on the complaint of her mother. Pinki was taken to a shelter home. Alleged Bajrang Dal activists reportedly assaulted the two brothers before the police arrested them. Two weeks later, after Pinki gave a statement backing the brothers, they were released on bail. While the case is still under investigation, she is back at her in-laws’ house. She had claimed to have suffered a miscarriage during her stay at the home, though officials have claimed this is not clear in the medical tests so far.
SHO, Kanth, Ajay Kumar Gautam said investigation is on and the statements of locals are being recorded.
* Dhampur Police Station, Bijnor
A teenager was arrested on December 14 for allegedly trying to induce a minor Dalit girl to elope with him with the intention of marrying and convert her. The youth, who claims to be a minor though the police say he is 19, and the girl, 16, are former classmates. Both initially claimed that they were returning after a friend’s birthday party when they were chased by a group of men, who beat them and took them to a police station. An FIR was then filed against the teenager by the girl’s father, and he was arrested. Speaking to The Indian Express, the girl had denied the charges, while her father had said he had filed the complaint under police pressure.
Circle officer, Bijnor, Ajay Agarwal said the girl’s statement had been recorded and she had supported the charges levelled by her father.
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