The controversial conversion of Bengali Muslims in Agra has heightened tensions in the western U.P. town of Muzaffarnagar. The situation worsened in pockets of the riot-affected district on Wednesday after a Muslim woman in Chapar village allegedly converted to Hinduism to marry her 'boy friend'.
On Wednesday when she was presented in the local court, her family members and relatives clashed with the local police.
“The situation was already charged here as the news spread that a Muslim girl converted to get married to a Hindu boy but the ongoing overtures of the right wing about converting Muslims only worsened the situation,” said Sarfaraz Ahmad, a villager.
The SHO Arun Tyagi told The Hindu on the phone that news of alleged conversion of the woman had triggered communal tension in the area. Though there was no direct relation between the two incidents, members of the minority community said the Agra conversion controversy “acted as a catalyst” to the already charged atmosphere in the pockets of in the riot-torn Muzaffarnagar district.
Authorities have deployed extra security to prevent any religious confrontation.
The woman had eloped early last month with one Ishvar Singh despite stiff opposition from her family. According to the local police, the couple got married on November 12 after eloping. Fearing a threat to her security, the woman had last month approached Allahabad High Court which had asked the Chief Judicial Magistrate Narender Kumar to record her statement. The CJM on Wednesday ordered that she was free to live with her husband, which provoked resentment in her family members and relatives.
“Initially it was just her family members and relatives who were angry but when the news of conversion in Agra became a national headline, it only added fuel to the fire,” maintained Mr. Ahmad.
“The couple is back in the village but gradually the situation in the village and its vicinity got tense as the news of the girl’s alleged conversion spread. Security has been tightened for precautionary measure,” said the police officer.