Families of accused claim misuse of UP’s anti-love jihad law

The initial cases registered under the anti-‘love jihad’ law have come under scrutiny as families of those booked under the law have raised questions.

On one side the victim’s family is alleging that the girl was forced to convert while the accused, booked and in jail, have raised questions on the police action.

Uttar Pradesh became the first state to bring an anti-love jihad law after Governor Anandiben Patel promulgated the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020.

The new law was meant to curb forcible or “dishonest” religious conversions in Uttar Pradesh.

The development came days after the state government approved a draft ordinance to curb forcible or “dishonest” religious conversions including those for the sake of marriage, which could land violators in jail for up to 10 years.

Now, families of those booked under the law are claiming misuse.

Tikaram, a resident of Sharif Nagar, Bareilly, lodged a complaint against a 21-year-old neighbor Uwais Ahmed for allegedly forcefully converting his daughter’s religion. Based on Tikaram’s complaint, Ahmed was arrested four days later. Ahmed is the first accused arrested under the new law.

Speaking to India Today Ahmed’s family is claiming wrongdoing in this case and said the he was being trapped. The father of the accused, Rafiq and mother Munni said in 2019, the girl had run away on her own will, and the police had already filed a closure report after she was found. The girl had given in writing that she had no relation with Ahmed in the earlier case, but now the wrong case has been filed under the new law. At the same time, the girl’s family is silent on this matter.

In another case, a woman in Izatnagar approached police on 27 November with a complaint against a man named Tahir Hussain (21), who she identified as her husband. According to the woman, Hussain married her only to convert her to Islam. According to Tahir’s neighbors, the woman lived near Tahir’s house but vacated the rental house after the case happened.

In the complaint to the police, the woman wanted to register a case under the new ordinance. Tahir Hussain was later arrested, but the police did not implement the ordinance as the law was notified the day after she filed the complaint. Even in this matter, Tahir’s family alleged that he was being framed in a wrong case for personal vendetta.

On the other hand, the police department is talking about looking at these cases from all angles. Speaking to India Today, the SSP in-charge of Bareilly, Sansar Singh said in the first case, the case came after the girl got married and the boy was arrested and in the second case, the date of FIR came before the law came into force, there are various angles on the complication of the lawsuits, due to which there is a possibility of law being misused.

Certainly, these cases have now opened a discussion about the use of law and the need for an in-depth investigation.

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