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Mumbai man held for ‘abduction’ of Gujarat woman as her family cries ‘love jihad’

Police said the woman from Vapi in Gujarat got married to another man four months ago but she was in touch with 28-year-old Mumbai resident Salman Shaikh, a former college mate.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2018 21:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Love jihad,Mumbai,Salman Shaikh
The woman’s family alleged that Salman Shaikh had lured and coerced her, and it was a case of love jihad.(Representative image)

A Muslim man and a married Hindu woman were detained at Mumbai airport on Monday night, minutes before they were to board a Kolkata-bound flight after the Gujarat-based woman’s family alleged that she was kidnapped for “love jihad”, police said.

According to police, the woman from Vapi in Gujarat got married to another man four months ago but she was in touch with 28-year-old Mumbai resident Salman Shaikh, a former college mate.

“He was arrested on the charge of kidnapping. He was brought to Vapi in Gujarat early Tuesday. The 22-year-old woman, a resident of Chala area in Vapi, has returned home with her family,” said a police officer, who doesn’t want to be named.

Shaikh had planned to fly to Dubai via Kolkata, the officer said.

The woman’s family alleged that Shaikh had lured and coerced her, and it was a case of love jihad —a term coined by fringe outfits to describe cases of what they believe are forced marriages between Muslim men and Hindu women.

But police refused to draw any conclusion on their relationship. “Whether they were in a relationship, which continued even after her marriage, or whether she was forced to get married is a matter of investigation,” said investigating officer PI Makwana.

The woman allegedly went to Valsad on Monday telling her in-laws that she would be visiting her parents, but she remained incommunicado since 11am, raising suspicion in both families.

The woman’s mother, who was apparently aware of her daughter’s friendship with Shaikh, reported her disappearance to police and complained that he had kidnapped her. Supported by right-wing organisations, the family asked police to initiate action immediately and bring her back.

Police investigated and found that she was in Mumbai with Shaikh, whom she had contacted through Facebook.

“They first met at a Mumbai college, where she was studying in 2014-15. She was introduced to Salman through a common friend. They remained in touch through social media,” investigating officer Makwana said.

Following the complaint, Gujarat police approached their Mumbai counterparts. The couple was caught in a joint operation by Mumbai and Gujarat police at the airport.

According to police, the woman’s family members accused Shaikh of being a philanderer, basing their allegation on his social media profile, which also indicates that he is a frequent flyer and has vacationed in Thailand, Dubai, Jerusalem and Australia recently.

Gujarat police said Shaikh’s father is a garment merchant from BAV Marg in Mumbai.

But the family couldn’t be contacted when Hindustan Times to reach it in the said address. According to Mumbai police, the family lived at that address on rent two years ago and nobody knows where it is now.

First Published: Mar 20, 2018 18:28 IST