A Muslim man who was dragged off a train in Madhya Pradesh by members of a Hindutva group has been arrested for allegedly attempting to forcibly convert the Hindu woman he was travelling with, reported The Quint on Tuesday. The complaint in this regard was lodged by the woman.
The man and the women were forcibly taken off the Ajmer-bound train in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain city by members of the Bajrang Dal on January 14, but videos of the assault were shared on social media last week.
The Bajrang Dal members had accused the man, identified as Asif Shaikh, of “love jihad” and handed him and the woman to the Government Railway Police in Ujjain station. “Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory espoused by Hindutva groups alleging that Hindu women are forcibly converted by Muslims through marriage.
At that time, Shaikh and the woman were only let off after their parents arrived and their statements were recorded.
The police have now said that the man was booked after the woman filed a complaint on Sunday. He was arrested the next day.
Mhow police station in-charge Arun Solanki said that the man has been booked under the Indian Penal Code Section 384 (extortion) and the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021.
“The victim has accused Asif of blackmailing and pressuring for conversion,” Solanki said. “She said that Asif had secretly taken her pictures and was blackmailing her.”
Solanki said that the woman’s statement was recorded before the magistrate and Shaikh was issued a notice, reported The Indian Express.
According to the complaint, the woman was introduced to Shaikh by her husband. Shaikh used to frequently visit their home.
“Asif had clicked some objectionable photos of mine,” she alleged. “He later started threatening me with life and said that he will make my photos viral and took money from me.”
The woman also alleged that he was pressuring her to convert to Islam.
She claimed that Shaikh was “forcefully taking her to Ajmer” when they were stopped, the Hindustan Times reported. She added that she was scared and thus did not file any complaint at Ujjain.
On January 14, Government Railway Police Superintendent of Police Nivedita Gupta had told IANS that Shaikh and the woman were family friends and had known each other for years.
“After they were brought in to the police station by Bajrang Dal men, who alleged ‘love jihad’, we recorded their statements and as they were both adults and there was no offence, they were allowed to go,” Gupta had said.
In the video of the incident, the woman could also be heard questioning the Bajrang Dal members for filming her without her consent.