Denying rumours of “love jihad,” a 22-year-old woman from Meerut, who earlier alleged gang rape and forced conversion sending western Uttar Pradesh on the boil in August, said on Sunday that she had run away with a Muslim man out of her own free will. She approached the police complaining of a threat from her family, and in a written statement, denied rape or conversion.
Denial gives the lie to BJP claim When the woman allegedgang rape and forced conversion in August, several BJP leaders, including Yogi Adityanath, the BJP’s bypoll campaign in-charge in the State, took up the issue.
The allegation by the former madrasa teacher came close on the heels of the Saharanpur riots, sending western Uttar Pradesh on the boil. The Sangh Parivar and affiliated groups took up the case as a textbook example of “love jihad” — the headline-grabbing term used by Hindutva activists as an Islamist conspiracy to lure and convert Hindu women.
Right-wing Hindu groups launched an elaborate campaign in the State against “love jihad” in which they claimed Muslim men lured Hindu girls, tricked them into marriage and forced them to accept Islam.
‘Threat to my life’ “I was staying with my parents, but I ran away from home because I feel a threat to my life from my parents and relatives,” she said in the statement. “I went with the boy belonging to a different community out of my own will.”
The man, Kaleem, and eight others were arrested after she alleged on August 3 that she had been abducted, gang-raped and forcibly converted to Islam.
“The girl ran away from her house and approached a women’s police station on Sunday morning after which she was presented before the Magistrate, Satya Prakash Rai. She requested that she be allowed to stay in Naari Niketan [government facilities for women] after which the Magistrate sent her to the Meerut Naari Niketan,” Superintendent of Police (Meerut Rural) M.M. Beg said.