The Uttar Pradesh Police have arrested seven people under the new anti-conversion law in Sitapur district for allegedly abducting a Hindu girl from her home, PTI reported on Saturday.
The police had filed a cased against the accused on November 27, three days after the incident took place.
Additional Superintendent of Police (Sitapur) Rajeev Dikshit said that the police were yet to arrest the main accused. “A case has been registered against eight people under the new anti-conversion law,” he said. “Seven accused have been arrested. Seven teams have been deployed and the main accused will be nabbed soon.”
The officer added that strict action will be taken in case he finds any negligence on the police’s side.
The Uttar Pradesh Police had made their first arrest under the new legislation against “love jihad” in Bareilly district on Wednesday. “Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory used by right-wing groups who accuse Muslim men of using marriage as a lure to force Hindu women to convert to Islam. The police had also stopped a Muslim man from marrying a Hindu woman on Wednesday in Lucknow despite the consent of their parents. On Friday, 14 people in the state’s Mau district were booked under the law.
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The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, makes religious conversion a non-bailable offence, inviting penalties of up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.
The ordinance against unlawful conversions was promulgated by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel on November 28, days after it was passed by the Adityanath-led state Cabinet. Hours later, the police registered their first case against a Muslim man in the state’s Bareilly district.
Apart from Uttar Pradesh, four other BJP-ruled states – Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Assam – have also decided to introduce laws aimed at preventing inter-faith marriage. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra had announced last month that the government will table a bill to check forced conversions in the state Assembly during the upcoming session.
The Centre itself told the Lok Sabha in February that no “case of ‘love jihad’ had been reported by any of the central agencies”. Investigations by the National Investigation Agency and the Karnataka Criminal Investigation Department have turned up no evidence for this alleged conspiracy either. The National Commission for Women maintains no data about “love jihad” too.