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Man booked under anti-conversion law in U.P.

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A man from Fatehpur district in Uttar Pradesh was booked by the police under the new anti-conversion law in the State for trying to convert his wife to Islam.

The Allahabad High Court had recently granted bail to the accused man, a truck driver by profession. In the High Court, he had pleaded that he and his wife were both Hindus.

On June 26, an FIR was lodged against Vijay Kumar Sonkar, 28, at Khakhreru police station under Sections 3, 5 (1) of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020. Mr. Sonkar was also booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 295 (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

Rajesh Kumar, Additional Superintendent of Police, Fatehpur, said that Mr. Sonkar was booked on the complaint of his wife Poonam Devi, 22, who accused her husband of putting pressure on her and her family to convert to Islam. Mr. Sonkar had allegedly befriended a Muslim truck diver and accepted Islam as his faith, Mr. Kumar said in June.

On July 6, a local court refused bail to Mr. Sonkar. According to details in the bail rejection order, Poonam Devi said that her husband wanted her to convert. On June 25, she alleged, Mr. Sonkar abused and thrashed her to force her to convert. She added that her father-in-law did not intervene when her husband hit her.

Mr. Sonkar’s lawyer told the court that he was falsely implicated in the case. The accused stated that on the day of the alleged incident, the couple had a domestic dispute. Some people in the neighbourhood who bore animosity against him maliciously persuaded his wife to file an FIR on fabricated charges. Mr. Sonkar also submitted that he was happily married with Poonam and that the allegation of use of force or inducement to get her converted to Islam was false and unfounded.

The lawyer arguing the case for the State opposed the bail and submitted that police had recovered the Quran and other articles from the accused.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar Chaurasia denied bail to Mr. Sonkar saying the charges against him were “very serious in nature”. Mr. Sonkar then approached the Allahabad High Court. On September 27, Justice Sanjay Kumar Pachori granted him bail without expressing opinion on the merit of the case. Mr. Sonkar submitted in the High Court that he and his wife were both Hindus by religion and that she was living with him.


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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 11:11:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/man-booked-under-anti-conversion-law-in-up/article37115898.ece

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