Uttarakhand Police on Tuesday booked four people for allegedly violating provisions of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, after it was found that a woman had converted to Islam to marry a man in September this year without following provisions of the law.
The woman and her husband have been booked in the case along with the latter’s uncle and a qazi who performed the conversion and solemnised the ‘nikah’.
This is seen as the first case under the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act since the law was enacted in 2018.
The FIR has been lodged at Patel Nagar police station of Dehradun against the woman, her husband Samir Ali, his uncle Shaukeen, and qazi Mufti Salim Ahmed.
According to police officers, the issue come to light earlier this year when Samir moved the Nainital High Court with a plea seeking protection for himself. The court directed the Dehradun district magistrate (DM) to conduct an investigation. Circle Officer (Sadar) Anuj Kumar was assigned the probe.
As per a police release, Samir had met the woman at tuition classes in Dehradun around a year and half ago – at the time he was 21 and the woman 19. According to police, they decided to marry this year with mutual consensus, and approached Mufti Salim Ahmed who, as per police probe, performed conversion of the woman and issued her a certificate of her new name without allegedly completing due process.
The same day – on September 29 – the qazi solemnised their nikah in the presence of Samir’s uncle, Shaukeen, according to probe.
Circle Officer Anuj Kumar said: “It was found that Samir, the woman, the qazi and Shaukeen have violated the Dharma Swatantrata Adhiniyam, 2018 (Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act). On this ground, a case has been registered against them.”
Kumar said the nikah was performed without knowledge of the woman’s parents. At present, she is living with her husband, the CO said.
The FIR has been lodged under Sections 3, 8 and 12 of Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act.
Section 3 of the law relates to prohibition of religious conversion by misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage. Section 8 provides that the one who desires to convert should give a declaration at least one month in advance to the DM about his/her wish to convert at free will and without any force, coercion, undue influence or allurement. The religious priest who performs the conversion ceremony is required by law to give one month’s notice to the DM, who in turn is required to get a police inquiry done on the “real intention, purpose and cause” of that proposed religion conversion, the law says.
Section 12 relates to people deemed involved in committing the offence by doing the act, or aiding others.