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SIT probe into ‘love jihad’ rules out conspiracy angle, outside funding

The SIT submitted its report on Monday after probing 14 cases lodged in police stations across Kanpur district over the last two years involving Hindu girls and Muslim men.

Written by Manish Sahu | Lucknow | Updated: November 24, 2020 4:22:40 pm
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A Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up in September to probe alleged cases of ‘love jihad’ has ruled out any conspiracy angle in the 14 such cases it investigated and also found no evidence that the Muslim youths involved got any funding from abroad. The SIT, which submitted its report on Monday, also dismissed charges that the youths had the backing of any organisation.

The SIT’s findings come two days after the Uttar Pradesh government announced that it would bring an ordinance to check unlawful conversions in the state, primarily aimed at alleged cases of ‘love jihad’.

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The SIT was formed by Inspector General (Kanpur Range) Mohit Agarwal after members of right-wing Hindu organisations, including the VHP, met him and alleged a conspiracy in which Muslim youths were luring Hindu girls into marriage in a bid to convert them. They also claimed that the youths, who are being funded from abroad, had hid their identities from the girls.

The SIT, headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police Vikas Pandey, submitted its report to Agarwal on Monday after probing 14 cases lodged in police stations across Kanpur district over the last two years involving Hindu girls and Muslim men.

Read | ‘Love jihad’ coined by BJP to divide nation, disturb communal harmony: Ashok Gehlot

Confirming that the SIT submitted its report to him on Monday, Agarwal told The Indian Express that of the 14 cases, the SIT found that police had taken action against the accused in 11 cases under Sections 363 (punishment for kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc) and other charges. In eight cases, it was established that the victims (the girls) were minors.

In three of the 14 cases, the SIT found that police had filed closure reports after the Hindu women, all above 18 years, had given statements in favour of the accused, stating either that they had married Muslim men or been with them of their own free will, said Agarwal.

Of the 11 cases in which action was taken against the accused men, the SIT found that in three cases, the youths had allegedly used false identities, including preparing fake documents, to impress the girls. In these three cases, police have added charges of fraud against the accused, said the IG.

Also Read | Madhya Pradesh plans law to check ‘rising love jihad’ with five-year prison term

While probing the ‘conspiracy’ angle in these 11 cases, the SIT found that only four of the Muslim youths, against whom cases were lodged, were known to each other. But that, the SIT found, was because they lived in the same locality — Juhi colony in Kanpur.

“The conspiracy part could not be established. The inquiry team also did not find any organisation to be behind the youths (accused). Also, they were not being funded from abroad,” said Agarwal.

“In three of these 11 cases, the victims claimed they were forced into religion conversion. In three other cases, the girls said they were forced into marriage,” he added.

Police said chargesheets have been filed in eight of these cases, while the process is on in the remaining ones.

Read | Uttar Pradesh: Two-day RSS meet begins; ‘love jihad’ on agenda

DSP Pandey, who headed the probe, told The Indian Express that in the 11 cases, “we found that established procedure was not followed while changing the names of the girls before their marriage. Also, their marriages were not registered under the Special Marriages Act.”

In September, Hindutva groups had raised the issue of alleged ‘love jihad’ after reports emerged of a Kanpur girl, Shalini Yadav, marrying a Muslim youth. A few days after she left home, the girl put up a video saying she had converted and seeking police protection from her parents, who, she alleged, had lodged a false FIR of kidnapping.

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