Two Muslim youths were arrested in Kanth area of Moradabad district on Saturday under the new anti-conversion law. This was the fifth case lodged in Uttar Pradesh since the state promulgated the new law — Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 – last Saturday. Under the new law, any“wrongful” conversion through marriage entails punishment.
Rashid Ali (22) was arrested while he was reportedly going with the 22-year-old woman, Pinki, to get their marriage registered. Rashid’s brother, Saleem Ali (25), who was accompanying them, has also been arrested.
While Pinki said that she had got married to Rashid in July, her family alleged that she was being “forcibly converted” by Rashid through marriage.
Speaking with mediapersons on Sunday in Moradabad district, the woman said, “My name is Pinki and I am from Bijnor. I got married to Rashid on July 24. It has been five months (since we married)… I have been living here in Kanth in Moradabad since then. I am an adult and 22 years old. I got married to Rashid as per my wishes.”
Police, however, said that woman’s family had come to Kanth from Bijnor when they came to know about their plan to marry and stopped the wedding.
“The woman’s mother has alleged that Rashid Ali, a resident of Kanth in Moradabad, has deceitfully tempted her daughter Pinki to marry him and was getting her converted,” Circle Officer (Kanth) Balram told The Indian Express.
“To marry my daughter, Rashid brought her to Kanth and we followed them here. Then we got to know that the youth is Muslim. He hid his identity… On Saturday, he was going to marry my daughter and she was made to wear a burqa,” the officer quoted the woman’s mother, Bala Devi, as saying in her complaint to the police.
The Circle Officer said that the couple told the police that they were getting married and the woman was going to convert. “Some people and the family members of the woman recognised her and stopped the wedding. The couple used to work together in Hardwar and that is how they met. The woman’s family had somehow found out about their marriage and came to Moradabad from Bijnor,” the Circle Officer added.
Asked if the police have questioned the woman and asked her about her claim that she got married to Rashid in August, the Circle Officer said, “We will probe the matter. The girl will be presented in front of a magistrate on Monday.”
“Both the man and the woman are adults. Further probe is underway,” said SHO (Kanth) Ajay Gautam.
In a video that has gone viral on social media, men wearing saffron scarves are seen surrounding the woman inside the police station and questioning her in presence of two police personnel.