He was booked under anti-conversion law for walking with a Dalit girl
NEW DELHI —Allahabad High Court on Tuesday granted bail to a Muslim teenager from Bijnor who was jailed last year in December under the controversial anti-conversion law. He was hounded and beaten up along with a 16-year-old Dalit girl by a group of goons on the allegation of “love Jihad”.
The police had accused him of inducing a girl to elope with him for marriage and conversion to Islam. Apart from invoking anti-conversion law, he was also booked under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences.
The incident took place on the night of December 14. The girl and the boy, who were former classmates, were walking back home from a friend’s birthday party when they were allegedly chased by a group of men. The men beat the two with sticks and forced them to identify themselves. When it became apparent that the boy and girl belonged to different religions, the group allegedly whisked them away to a local police station.
The police claimed that a first information report was filed in Dhampur on a complaint by the girl’s father. The report stated that the accused had “induced the girl to elope with him” with the “intention to marry and convert her”.
But the girl’s father denied filing the complaint with consent. He alleged the police had dictated the statement to him. “I trust my daughter completely,” he told The Indian Express. “What wrong did she do? Why must she be made part of politics? Is it unlawful for a boy and a girl to walk together now?”
The girl also denied that she was forced and asserted that she was walking with the boy out of her free will. “I have told this to the magistrate, and I will say this again, those men had a problem with me walking with my friend,” she added. “They made videos of me and are now calling it love jihad. I did nothing wrong.”
The boy’s lawyers Ramesh Kumar and Ramesh Chandra Yadav submitted that he “has been falsely implicated in the present case due to ulterior motive”. They argued that allegations against their client are baseless as he did not “entice the victim, however, a concocted and false story has been set up by the prosecution whereas the applicant has not committed any offence as alleged”.
National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO), a human rights group, said that the accused was “wrongly imprisoned”.
Slamming the use of the “love Jihad” laws, advocate Masroof Kamal, who is associated with the group, said the anti-conversion law is used in the state to target Muslims and deny women their agency.
The NCHRO alleged that the cases were being filed on the instructions of “thugs from the Saffron brigade” aimed at denying minorities and women their freedom.