A 20-year-old girl who was allegedly raped and coerced into converting to Islam at Sarawa village, 60 km east of Delhi, belonged to a distressed upper caste family and knew the accused, Muslims of the same village.
Her mother, Urmila Tyagi (name changed), believes her daughter’s decision to teach in the local Madrassa Sultania and her close friendship with a Muslim girl, who is arrested as an accused in the case, led her into a trap. “She was brainwashed, converted, and raped. She was repeatedly threatened that if she related her ordeal to anyone, the power of the Koran would destroy her and the family. She was lured with the promise of a job. She should not have trusted Muslims,” said the mother. “But our gods were stronger. They rescued her.”
In a Ghaziabad hospital, the victim is critically ill from infection possibly due to inadequate care following a surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy two weeks ago. The complaint says she was raped on June 29. She went away from home on July 23 giving some excuse to her parents and retuned on July 27. The girl underwent the surgery during those days, but investigators have found that two boys, who find no mention in her complaint, accompanied her to the hospital: one a Muslim, the other Hindu. The police have also found that the surgery did not take place in Muzzaffarnagar as stated by the girl, but in Meerut.
On July 29, the girl left home again, which first led to a missing person complaint and three days later, when she returned, a complaint of abduction and rape. She said she was forced to covert in the meanwhile. “We are in the process of verifying all this. There are many things that are not adding up,” said K. Satyanarayana, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Meerut. The police have arrested five people in the case so far.
Chandramohan, U.P. spokesperson of the BJP who visited the victim’s family with party State president Laxmikant Vajpai on Tuesday, said it was not mere coincidence that the victim was Hindu and the accused were Muslims. “There is a pattern to all such incidents of entrapping Hindu girls and converting them to Islam, in west UP.” Shakuntala Bharati, BJP leader and Mayor of Aligarh, has built her political career fighting “love jihad.” “I have lost count of the incidents. But I have faced death to rescue our girls from the clutches of Muslims,” she claims. Alok Sharma, Inspector-General of Police, Meerut, told the Hindu: “This case was a stray incident. I can’t recall similar cases elsewhere.”
The Hindu-dominated village that had elected a Muslim village head is now divided on religious lines, with Nawab Khan, the head himself, under arrest as an accused in the case. Mohammad Aslam, a villager, said: “I had warned against having women teachers in the madrassa. What do women have to do with teaching?” Thirty-five old Maulana Ameeruddin who runs the madrassa has a different take. “What is needed are strict laws against adultery, pre-martial sex.”