MEERUT – A Muslim man (27), who fell in love with Hindu woman, eloped with her, was held by the police for questioning even though their parents, while not supportive, didn’t press charges. and the woman had not been misled about the man’s religious identity.
The man was held and the woman have been sent to a shelter under pressure from Hindutva groups in a case of “love jihad”. But they don’t know how an FIR could possibly be filed, reported The Times of India.
“The woman said the man hadn’t hidden his identity.” “So, we called up her parents, who said they have disowned her but didn’t press charges,” Kankerkheda SHO Tapeshwar Sagar told TOI on Wednesday.
An Allahabad high court judgment had weeks ago upheld personal liberty in choosing a partner, referring to interfaith marriages. And under The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religious Ordinance, 2020, conversion from one religion to another by “misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage” is a criminal offence. But it’s a difficult case to make for this couple, police added.
Yusuf Ahmad and Anshu Singh (name changed) were colleagues at a call centre in Bareilly. When they fell for each other, Anshu’s family was extremely unhappy. They applied for marriage at the Arya Samaj Temple in Bareilly, but it didn’t get processed. As family pressure kept mounting, they ran away to Meerut, where Yusuf got a job and they put up at a rented house.
This was four months ago. When their landlord came to know of Yusuf’s religious identity, he told Balraj Dungar, the former west UP convener of Bajrang Dal. Dungar and other members of right-wing outfits banded together at the Kankerkheda police station, demanding action, on Tuesday.
“We cannot allow right-wing groups to file a complaint for an FIR because they have no legal stakes,” SHO Sagar said. But they have been holding Yusuf for “investigation” since Tuesday.
“If the woman’s parents file a complaint, it will definitely be an offence under the new law,” Sagar added, referring to the ordinance.
Dungar insisted there was a conspiracy afoot. “This is nothing but love jihad,” he said.
But Anshu said she had never been misled: “I know about his faith and still want to marry him. He never asked me to convert. On the contrary, he wants to convert to Hinduism.” She has been sent away to Asha Women’s Centre, a shelter in Meerut.
Meanwhile, taking off from the police statement that only the family could file an official complaint, the right-wing groups have got to work. Dungar said, “We have sent a few activists to speak to the woman’s parents in Bareilly today (Wednesday). We will try and convince them.”