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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

‘Love jihad’ law’s victim: I fear my baby is dead…I want my husband back

Recounting how “10-15 people” beat her and Rashid Ali as they were going to get their marriage registered, on the suspicion that it was a case of ‘love jihad’, and handed them over to police, Pinki said she was mistreated by caretakers at the shelter home she was taken to.

Written by Jignasa Sinha | Moradabad | Updated: December 16, 2020 7:56:35 am
None can interfere if an adult marries as per her choice, convert: Calcutta HCThe Calcutta High Court has observed that there can be no interference if an adult marries as per her choice and decides to convert. (Representational Image)

Speaking to The Indian Express, the 22-year-old now reunited with the family of the man held on charges of converting and forcibly marrying her said she had been bleeding for days, and was afraid she had lost the baby she was carrying. “The doctors haven’t told me anything,” Pinki said. Pointing out that she was an “adult”, and “happy with my choice”, she added, “I want my husband back.”

Recounting how “10-15 people” beat her and Rashid Ali as they were going to get their marriage registered, on the suspicion that it was a case of ‘love jihad’, and handed them over to police, Pinki said she was mistreated by caretakers at the shelter home she was taken to, as well as doctors at the Moradabad Mahila District Hospital. “I told the caretakers to give me medicines for stomach ache but they called me a dramebaaz (actor) and didn’t help me. They shifted me to a hospital after I started bleeding. At the hospital, doctors gave me tablets and injections to treat me but my condition deteriorated. I still have heavy vaginal bleeding.”

Though the district officials had earlier denied reports of a miscarriage and said Pinki’s three-month-old foetus was fine, a senior medical officer at the hospital told The Indian Express this was yet to be confirmed. “When she came here, we gave her pills to stop her bleeding. An ultrasound test was done and the foetus was spotted. However, we don’t know if its heart is beating. We have referred the woman to a Meerut hospital to get more tests done,” said the medical officer, while denying Pinki had been mistreated.

Pinki said she and Rashid (22) met in Dehradun in December 2019. Pinki, who belongs to Bijnor, worked at a clothing store while Rashid was employed at a salon. After they got married in July this year, defying her family, she said her mother and sister came down to Dehradun. “They beat me up. I told my mother to leave me and also filed a complaint at a police station in Dehradun. After the complaint, she stopped calling me.”

Living together since August, the couple only recently decided to get their marriage registered. Rashid’s mother Naseem Jahan (51) said they wanted legal papers as they were scared after the anti-conversion law in Uttar Pradesh and due to the confusion over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and NRC. “We were shocked when Rashid told us about the wedding, but we accepted their nikah. However, we were scared that they didn’t have marriage papers. We don’t know much about the laws. So, we contacted a lawyer to get the marriage registered.”

The family believes the lawyer told someone about their wedding. On Saturday, after filing the application, as the couple, accompanied by Rashid’s elder brother Salim, were heading to an office for a seal, they were stopped by 10-15 men.

Pinki said the men beat them up, claiming theirs was a case of ‘love jihad’, and took them to a police station. According to her, it was the men who made her mother come down from Bijnor and file a case against Rashid and her.

Denying these allegations, the police said they arrested the three from near the lawyer’s office on Pinki’s mother’s complaint. “The mother said her daughter was forced to convert. She gave a recorded statement… It was based on this that the local police arrested them. The matter is with the court now,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Moradabad Prabhakar Chaudhary.

Produced before a magistrate on Monday, Pinki said she was an adult, had married in July, much before the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, was passed, of her own free will, and that she wanted to go with Rashid’s family. With Rashid and Salim in jail, the police said they would take legal opinion on how to proceed in the case now.

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