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Barmer woman converts to Islam to marry Kashmiri man, J&K high court provides security cover

According to the documents received with the HC order, Barmer’s Ritu Khandelwal, 18, converted to Islam on her own will and became Zeenab

jaipur Updated: Mar 27, 2018 22:40 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Rajasthan news,Woman converts,Islam
Ritu Khandelwal, 18, of Barmer converted to Islam on her own will and became Zeenab.(HT Photo)

A Hindu woman from Rajasthan’s Barmer converted to Islam in December last year and married a Kashmiri man, keeping her family in the dark, police said.

In March this year, the woman went missing from her house, and when her family registered a missing person’s report, police found out that she was in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Barmer police received an order from the Jammu and Kashmir high court on March 22 to provide security to the couple so that no harm is caused to them. The HC passed the order on February 20, but it reached Barmer on March 22.

According to the documents received with the HC order, Barmer’s Ritu Khandelwal, 18, converted to Islam on her own will and became Zeenab. Police also received a copy of the marriage registration certificate in which Gulzar Ahmad Khan is mentioned as her husband.

The documents show that Khandelwal converted to Islam on December 27 last year and married Khan on December 30 according to Islamic rituals. However, the woman continued to live with her parents until March 16 when she went missing.

Her parents approached police on March 19 to register the missing person’s report.

During investigation, police found that the couple approached the Jammu and Kashmir high court, seeking security from private respondents; the HC directed police in Kashmir and Barmer to not act against them.

“We have received HC’s order directing us to provide security to petitioners Gulzar Ahmad Khan and Ritu Khandelwal so that no harassment is caused by the private respondents and their relatives,” said Amar Singh Ratnu, station house officer of Barmer Kotwali police station.

The high court directed the J&K home secretary, DIG of Baramulla, senior SP of Kupwara and SHO of Kupwara police station and SHO of Barmer Kotwali to provide security to the couple.

Khandelwar’s father Ganesh Kumar refused to comment on the case. Police said the woman came in contact with the Kashmiri man when he was working at a coffee house in Barmer for the past many years.

Earlier, a similar case came to the Rajasthan high court in Jodhpur when 22-year-old Aarifa Modi, born Payal Singhvi and a Hindu, converted to Islam in April 2017 to secretly marry her school-time lover, Faiez Modi, 24.

In October, she left home and started living with her husband. Singhvi’s parents filed a case in the Rajasthan HC to allege that she had converted under duress, but the woman appeared in the court and said she converted and married on her own will. The HC allowed her to live with her husband on November 1.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 22:17 IST