11 FIRs under U.P. ordinance so far

At least 34 persons have been arrested, say police in various districts

December 21, 2020 02:13 am | Updated 02:13 am IST - LUCKNOW

The first arrest was that of a 21-year-old from Bareilly.

The first arrest was that of a 21-year-old from Bareilly.

With fresh cases in Shahjahanpur and Kannauj, the number of FIRs lodged under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 has reached 11.

The ordinance was promulgated on November 27 and since then, it has been invoked roughly once in 48 hours. At least 34 persons have been arrested so far, the police in various districts said.

Along with those in Shahjahanpur and Kannauj, the police have lodged cases under the new ordinance in Gautam Buddha Nagar, Mau, Bijnor, Hardoi, Sitapur, Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad, Bareilly and Etah.

In Kannauj, a case was lodged under Sections 3 and 5 of the ordinance in Gurusahaiganj against a Muslim man in his thirties for marrying a Hindu girl, aged 26, allegedly through a fraudulent Hindu identity. Ajay Verma, the brother of the girl, said the man named Taufeeq was going by a fake name of Rahul Verma. “When we asked about his family, he said he had been living separately for seven years and lived in Lucknow. He said his family lived in Jaipur,” Ajay told a television channel. Through a photo of the wedding posted by the accused on Facebook, they got to know that the man was a Muslim, alleged Ajay, claiming that even his sister did not know of his religion.

Additional Superintendent of Police Vinod Kumar said the accused was arrested on Saturday. “They had married as per Hindu rituals,” he said.

BJP leaders in tow

Superintendent of Police, Kannauj, Prabhat Verma said a complaint was registered after a man alleged that his daughter was married through deceit using a fake name. “Action is being taken on the basis of evidence,” the officer said.

A group of BJP leaders had accompanied the complainant to the police.

In Shahjahanpur, a Muslim youth, identified as Mohammad Saeed, was arrested on charges of allegedly sexually exploiting the woman after concealing his religion, said Sanjay Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Shahjahanpur City. The police said the accused raped the woman five years ago. He also clicked intimate pictures of the woman and blackmailed her and continued to sexually exploit her, the police alleged. While he also coerced her to give him money, recently he started threatening her to marry him by forcibly trying to convert her, the police said. The man was also booked for rape and extortion.

In Soorajpur, Gautam Buddha Nagar, police arrested four persons including three women — one of them a South Korean national — on charges of using enticement to convert people to a different religion.

Most of the arrests so far are from Sitapur and Mau.

In Sitapur, 13 persons have been arrested after a Hindu student allegedly eloped with a Muslim van driver of the same village, Makhu Behar in Tambaur, said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Laharpur, Yadvendra Yadav. The girl’s father had alleged that the boy induced his daughter to flee from home with the intention of conversion.

While the boy’s family members were arrested, the boy and the girl are yet to be traced, said Mr. Yadav. “Attempts are on,” said the officer on Sunday.

In Mau, 10 persons have been arrested after a married Muslim man and 13 relatives, including his wife, were booked for allegedly abducting the daughter of a prominent Hindu gold trader in Molnaganj on the eve of her wedding. The Station House Officer, Chiraiyakot said that while 10 persons had been arrested, the girl and the boy had also been traced.

In his police complaint on December 3, Premchand Seth had alleged that his daughter went missing on the night of November 29 and that Shadab alias Rahul Khan who lived in the same neighbourhood enticed her with the intention of converting her, and kidnapped her. He allured her with phone calls and WhatsApp messages, alleged Mr. Seth.

In Bijnor’s Dhampur, a Muslim man was arrested for allegedly eloping with a minor Dalit girl and trying to convert her, said police.

Both were taken into custody, said Superintendent of Police, Bijnor, Dharm Veer Singh, adding that the accused was also slapped with the POCSO Act and SC/ST Act.

In Hardoi, police arrested a man after booking him under the ordinance and for rape on the complaint of a woman who alleged that he was trying to coerce her to convert her religion. In Etah’s Jalesar, a Muslim youth and his family members were booked under the ordinance for allegedly kidnapping and converting a 22-year-old Hindu woman.

A 21-year-old man in Bareilly had become the first person to be booked and arrested under the new ordinance against unlawful conversion. Uwaish Ahmed was accused of allegedly trying to coerce a 20-year-old married Hindu woman to convert her to his religion and marry him. He is still in jail.

Rashid, a Muslim man from Moradabad who was arrested under the new ordinance against unlawful conversions when he had gone to register his marriage to a Hindu girl on December 5 was released from jail on bail along with his brother on Saturday after the police submitted in court they found no evidence against him.

The Allahabad High Court on Friday provided relief from arrest to a Muslim labourer Nadeem who along with his brother was booked in Muzaffarnagar for allegedly using coercion and allurement to convert the wife of a Hindu contractor after forging an illicit relationship with her. The two Muslim brothers were arrested on November 29, two days after the new ordinance was promulgated.

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