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Uttarakhand High Court asks state to make law to curb conversions

The court order came against the backdrop of a marriage between one Urja Sharma, an 18-year-old Hindu girl from Rudrapur and Atul Sharma, a 24-year-old boy from Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor district.

Written by Kavita Upadhyay | Dehradun |
November 21, 2017 4:21:27 am
Religious conversions, Uttarakhand High Court, Freedom of Religion Act, Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, inter religion marriage, india news Uttarakhand High Court

Calling religious conversions “a sham”, the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday suggested that the state government formulate a Freedom of Religion Act to “curb this tendency” of religious conversions which in a “few” cases were done “only to facilitate the process of marriage”.“… It needs to be mentioned that the court has come across a number of cases where inter-religion marriages are being organised. However, in a few instances, the conversion from one religion to another religion is a sham conversion only to facilitate the process of marriage,” the order given by the single Bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma stated.

“… The state government is expected to legislate the Freedom of Religion Act on the analogy of Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 1968, as well as Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2006, without hurting the religious sentiments of citizens,” the order said.

The court order came against the backdrop of a marriage between one Urja Sharma, an 18-year-old Hindu girl from Rudrapur in Uttarakhand’s Udham Singh Nagar district, and Atul Sharma, a 24-year-old boy from Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor district, who claims to be currently working in New Delhi.

Prior to being issued a Shuddhi certificate by a priest on August 28 as a proof of his conversion from Islam to Hinduism, Atul’s name was Adil Hussain Ansari. On September 28, Atul married Urja, who had allegedly fled home to marry him.

“On November 2, Urja’s father Girish Kumar Sharma filed a habeas corpus petition in the Uttarakhand High Court to trace his missing daughter,” Kumar’s lawyer Lalit Sharma said. “The couple was produced in court on November 14 where Atul said he had converted for the marriage. However, we presented our case against the conversion since we believed that the conversion to Hinduism was only a facade and the boy was otherwise a practising Muslim,” Sharma said.

On Monday, the case was disposed of by the court after Urja accepted the marriage, but chose to return to her father’s house stating that “she did not wish to create problems for her family by continuing to stay with me”, Atul told The Indian Express on the phone.

Urja could not be contacted for comments.

On being approached by The Indian Express, Urja’s father Girish Kumar denied giving information related to Urja’s marriage and the court case.

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