Ranchi woman says husband, in-laws forced her to convert to Islam

  • Saurav Roy, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
  • Updated: Jan 08, 2015 23:01 IST

A Ranchi-based woman filed a police complaint on Thursday accusing her husband and his family of forcibly converting her to Islam in a case that harks back to the ‘forced conversion’ of a national rifle shooter that became a rallying point for right-wing organisations.

The issue of forced conversions, especially of women to Islam for the purpose of marriage, has been dubbed ‘love jehad’ by Hindu groups and has been used for justifying the controversial ‘re-conversion’ programmes of late.

Jaya Bhandari, a divorcee in her mid-thirties, on Thursday said she was forcibly converted by her second husband Waqar Danish Anwar, a man she met while working in a Ranchi hotel.

The first investigation report (FIR) says her in-laws allegedly change her name and forced her to eat beef, besides assaulting her when she refused to pay a dowry of `5 lakh.

“The FIR has been lodged and the accused shall be detained soon for interrogation,” said Superintendent of Police Anup Birtharey.

Anwar, who works in a media organisation, could not be reached for comment. Sapan Mahtha, officer in-charge of Namkom police station, said Anwar and his father were absconding.

According to the complaint, Bhandari tied the knot with Anwar on November 10, 2013 at a temple on the outskirts of Ranchi. She then moved to his home in the Muslim-dominated area of Kantatoli.

The hotel management graduate said in her complaint that Anwar proposed marriage despite knowing she was a divorcee with a seven-year-old daughter.

Bhandari’s complaint said her name was forcibly changed to Zoya Anwar. “I was first confined to a room and tortured, where the forceful conversion and nikah took place,” she wrote in the complaint.

This is the second case of alleged forced conversion in Ranchi. Ace shooter Tara Shahdeo’s case is currently being heard by a court.

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