‘Love jihad’: 19-year-old man arrested under anti-conversion law in Uttar Pradesh
He allegedly eloped with a 14-year-old girl and tried to convert her to Islam.
A 19-year-old man in Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor district was arrested under the new anti-conversion law on Wednesday, the Hindustan Times reported. He allegedly eloped with a 14-year-old girl and tried to convert her to Islam.
Dharampur Station House Officer Arun Kumar Tyagi told the newspaper that the girl was from a Scheduled Caste community. He said that a case was filed against the man under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the anti-conversion law.
The police officer added that the two had been in a relationship for over a year and eloped on Monday. Their neighbours informed the police about the incident and they were caught.
The girl told the police during questioning that the man hid the fact that he was a Muslim. She also accused him of putting pressure on her to convert her religion for marriage. This is the second case under the anti-conversion law in Bijnor and the eight in Uttar Pradesh, according to The Times of India.
- ‘Love jihad’: As pandemic rages, BJP states turn focus to laws based on Hindutva conspiracy theory
- UP Police stop inter-faith marriage in Lucknow citing ‘love jihad’ law
- UP ‘love jihad’ law puts freedom of choice ‘on the backseat’, says former SC judge Madan Lokur
The Uttar Pradesh Police had made their first arrest under the new legislation against “love jihad” in Bareilly district on December 2. “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.
There have also been reports of the police stopping interfaith marriages in Lucknow and Kushinagar districts.
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.