4 men held in Uttarakhand’s Almora after locals accuse them of ‘love jihad’
Four Muslim men were arrested after locals at Bagwalipokhar in Uttarakhand’s Almora found them with a Hindu girl at a restaurant on Friday, a police officer said.
The officer said the four aged between 19 and 27 are residents of Haridwar and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. He added one of the four befriended the girl through social media a few months ago. “He along with the other three friends came to Bagwalipokhar area on Friday evening to meet the girl. ...he called the girl to a local restaurant where its owner, after seeing them, informed the locals...,” said the police officer.
The officer added the locals arrived at the restaurant and accused the four of “love jihad”, the term some Hindu groups use to describe relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women. The groups use the term to describe what they believe is an organised conspiracy of Muslim men to trick Hindu women into marriage.
The officer said the locals and some Hindu groups informed the girl’s father, who told them that the four allegedly lured his daughter to abduct her. He added the four were taken to a local police station, where the father lodged a complaint.
Ajay Lal Shah, a local police officer, said they booked the four for “abduction and molestation” and also under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The four were due to be produced before a local court on Saturday, said Shah.
Earlier on Wednesday, communal tension erupted in Uttarakhand after some Muslim labourers were accused of offering namaz at the Badrinath temple premises in a social media post that went viral. Police booked the 15 and their contractor, who worked about a kilometre away from the temple for gathering at one place in violation of Covid-19 protocols. In their primary investigation, police said they did not find any evidence that they offered namaz on Badrinath temple premises. No arrest has been made so far in the case and police were carrying a probe.