First man booked under UP’s new law against forced conversions arrested
Nearly four days after the first case was lodged under Uttar Pradesh’s new law against forced and dishonest religious conversions, the Muslim man was arrested in Bareilly district, senior police officials said Wednesday.
Owaish Ahmad, 21, was arrested after police raids at his hideouts. The accused was produced in a competent court and sent to jail, said deputy inspector general of police, Bareilly Range, Rajesh Kumar Pandey.
The case was lodged at Devraniya police station of Bareilly on November 28 hours after Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel signed the ordinance into law.
The law has provisions to check religious conversions carried out by “allurement, coercion, force, fraud, or marriage”.
A statement by the Bareilly police said Owaish was booked Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 504 for insulting a person and 506 for criminal intimidation as well as Section 3/5 of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, that came into effect last Saturday.
The arrest was made by a team led by inspector in-charge of Devraniya police station Daya Shanker.
A senior police official said the accused was also booked under (IPC sections 363/366 ) for elopement of a minor girl in 2019.
He said the girl (now adult), was recovered safely later but the accused allegedly kept on mounting pressure on her even after that.
“In the same matter, the girl’s father Tikaram Rathore of Sharifnagar village had lodged the fresh FIR against the accused of mounting pressure on his daughter to convert to Islam,” he added.
He said the complainant had stated in the FIR that the accused hurled abusive remarks and threatened the family with dire consequences on facing opposition to his moves for religious conversion of the woman. He said the complainant and the accused are from the same village and the incident had affected communal harmony in the locality.
The state cabinet had cleared the ordinance earlier this month, targeting what many right-wing outfits term ‘love jihad’, where Muslim men marry Hindu women to allegedly get the latter ti change her religion after marriage.
According to the new law, marriages where the intention is to change the woman’s religion, will be declared null and void. Under the new law, violations have been made a cognizable and non-bailable offence.
It also authorises the aggrieved persons’ parents, siblings or close relatives to file an FIR over violation of the provisions of the law.
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