Moradabad ‘love jihad’ case: Two accused brothers walk free after court order

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The police fail to produce evidence of forcible conversion against the accused.

LUCKNOW: Two brothers, who were arrested earlier this month under the newly promulgated anti-conversion law in Moradabad, were released on Saturday following an order by a district court.

The UP Police was unable to find any evidence of forced conversion against them, said sources.

The two were arrested on December 4 while visiting the marriage registrar’s office in Moradabad to get Rashid’s marriage with Pinki Yadav, a Hindu woman registered.

However, the police action was preceded by a complaint filed by the family of the girl and also the impinging and imposing Bajrang Dal activists who had heckled the couple and had dragged them to the Kanth police station.

Even a video had also gone viral on social media purportedly showing Bajrang Dal activists asking the couple if the woman had given notice to the district magistrate over her intention to change her religion, a requirement under the new UP Prohibition of  Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance-2020, which was promulgated on November 28, 2020 .

While releasing the two brothers — Rashid and Salim — the Kanth police submitted a report that it could not find evidence of any unlawful conversion of Pinki to Islam. The police submission came after Pinki denied the allegations of forceful conversion by Rashid and his brother Salim, following which the chief judicial magistrate ordered on Friday the release of the two, prosecuting officer Amar Tiwari said.

The two were released from the Moradabad prison on Saturday morning, according to jail sources.

“We got married with mutual consent. I have already spent 15 days in jail. But today I am happy as I have been released,” said Rashid after stepping out of the prison. When asked if he felt the police had misused the new law, he chose to keep mum.

Meanwhile, the mother-in-law alleged that Pinki suffered a miscarriage after she was tortured at the government shelter home.

Notably, the couple had got their Nikah solemnised in July, four months before the UP anti-conversion law came into being, the aggrieved woman had told reporters. She had even claimed in her statement before a magistrate that she was an adult. “I am a 22 years old. I got married of my own free will on July 24 in Dehradun. This is the fifth month that we have been married,” she had told the magistrate.

During the course of police action, while the husband and the brother-in-law of the woman were arrested and sent to jail, she, herself three months pregnant, was first kept at a shelter home by the Moradabad Police as she refused to go to her parents.

Later, after her statement, the magistrate had ordered her release from the shelter home and she had gone to her parents-in-law.

The woman had alleged that a government doctor gave her an injection “to induce a miscarriage”. However, the doctors and police denied it. She was hospitalised twice in three days over complaints of abdomen ache, bleeding, and spotting.

The recently-promulgated Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance-2020 nullifies marriages if they are carried out for the sole purpose of religious conversion. The ordinance provides for a jail term of up to 10 years for violators.

It was promulgated amid assertions by BJP leaders that a strict law to check the forcible conversion of Hindu girls who were often bullied by the Muslim men in the guise of love.

The Allahabad High Court had asked the state government on Friday to respond to a petition challenging the law by January 4.

Source: The Indian Express

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