'Love Jihad': First case filed under Uttar Pradesh’s new law against forced religious conversions
A 22-year-old was booked under the new law against forced conversion for allegedly “threatening to kidnap” and convert a 20-year-old woman.
November 30, 2020 / 11:05 AM IST
A 22-year-old man from Bareilly was booked under Uttar Pradesh’s new law against forced conversions, hours after the ordinance came into effect.
According to a report by The Times of India, Uwaish Ahmad was booked for allegedly “threatening to kidnap” and convert a 20-year-old woman who he knew from school but who was now married to someone else.
While the FIR was filed based on a complaint by the woman’s father, the police said the two had tried to elope in 2019. The woman's father, in his complaint, alleged that Ahmad had been "stalking and threatening" his daughter for the last three years.
Governor Anandiben Patel had signed the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religious Ordinance, 2020 on November 28. DIG (Bareilly Zone) Rajesh Kumar told the newspaper that this was the first case filed under the newly-enacted law.
Additional SP (rural) Sansaar Singh told the newspaper that Ahmad was booked under Section 3/5 of the ordinance, along with Sections 504 (breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet had cleared the draft of the law to deal with a forced religious conversion for the sake of marriage, which members of the state government termed as "love jihad".
The ordinance provides for a jail term of 1-5 years with Rs 15,000 penalty for forceful religious conversion.
The term “love jihad” has been used by right-wing groups opposing what they say is "forced" inter-faith marriage. It is frequently used by Hindutva organisations to allege a conspiracy by Muslim men to marry women from other religions mainly to convert them to Islam. The Union Home Ministry informed the Lok Sabha in February that there was no definition for the term under the current laws in India.
Other states, especially those governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are also mulling a similar law. These states include Assam, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.