The police in Nawabganj area of Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district have booked a 17-year old boy under the state’s new anti-conversion law and charged him with rape and other relevant sections under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.
He was charged after a minor girl, with whom he eloped, alleged that he had raped her and coerced her to change her religion, according to The Hindu.
On February 6, the girl’s father had initially lodged a kidnapping complaint against unknown persons at Nawabganj police station. In the complaint, the father said that the girl, a Class 9 student, had left home on February 5 around noon but did not return and they found her cycle parked the next day, The Hindu reported.
Then on February 8, after the girl returned to Bareilly, her father came to the police station and alleged that the boy took her to Jaipur posing as a Hindu, Sub-Inspector Shaktawat Singh, the station house officer of Nawabganj police station, told The Indian Express.
“The girl was taken to Jaipur and the two had decided to get married, but after she realised that the boy is Muslim, she returned to Bareilly on February 8,” Singh said.
Bareilly Senior Superintendent of Police Rohit Singh Sajwan told the newspaper that sections for rape and the POCSO Act were invoked as the girl was a minor and the boy had had sex with her. The accused will be made to appear before a Juvenile Justice Board on Thursday, while the girl was undergoing a medical examination, Sajwan added.
Speaking to The Hindu, Sajwan said that the fresh sections were added to the earlier First Information Report, based on the girl’s statement.
Meanwhile, the accused was admitted to a hospital on Tuesday as doctors found that he suffered from a heart ailment after he collapsed at a relative’s place. He was discharged on Wednesday and a police team was keeping watch on him, Sajwan said. The investigating officer of the case, Nitin Kumar Sharma, told The Indian Express that the police were also looking to book the boy’s cousins, who live in Jaipur and had allowed the two minors to stay at their house.
Another similar case lodged in Nawabganj
Meanwhile, in another similar case, Sajwan said that a man from the same Nawabganj police station area had eloped with a Class 10 student to Bhilwara in Rajasthan on February 2, PTI reported. The man asked the girl to change religions before marriage and raped her when she refused, according to the complaint by the girl’s father.
The Bhilwara police in Rajasthan arrested the man on suspicion of possessing a country-made weapon when he was caught. Upon interrogation, it came to light that he had eloped with the girl, following which the Bareilly police was informed, according to PTI.
The man is currently lodged in Bhilwara jail, while the police in Bareilly has booked him under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance and charges of rape.