Uttar Pradesh Police has registered the first case under the freshly made law against love jihad at the Deorania Police Station in District Bareilly. Sharing this piece of information, the police said today that Owais Ahmed, the first man to be booked under the new love jihad ordinance in Uttar Pradesh, is absconding.
The accused has been booked under Sections 504, 506 IPC and Section 3/5 of the new anti-conversion law (ordinance) for attempting to forcibly convert a girl to Islam, said Sansar Singh, the superintendent of police (rural) in Bareilly.
The girl’s father has alleged that Owais had enticed his daughter and exerted pressure on her to embrace Islam against the family’s wishes. The girl’s father alleged further that Owais had been threatening the family because of their opposition to this conversion bid.
In a statement, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said that a case had been registered by Tikaram, a resident of Sharif Nagar village under Devarniyan police station (in Bareilly). He accused Owais Ahmed of the same village of trying to convert his daughter bahla-phuslakar (through “waylaying”).
Before the Bareilly case
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel had yesterday approved of the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020 following Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Cabinet clearance of the draft on 24 November that proposes a maximum punishment of 10 years for love jihad-related offences.
Under the law dealing with different categories of offences, a marriage will be declared “null and void” if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose, and those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to apply to the district magistrate.
Violation of the provisions of the law would invite a jail term of not less than one year extendable to five years with a fine of Rs 15,000.
If a minor woman or a woman from the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes communities was converted through the said unlawful means, the jail term would be a minimum of three years and could be extended to 10 years with a fine of Rs 25,000.
Mass conversions would invite a jail term of not less than three years up to 10 years and a fine of ₹50,000, read the operative statement on the ordinance.
On 24 November, Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Siddharth Nath Singh had shared the state cabinet’s decision to introduce an ordinance against unlawful religious conversions.
“There were more than 100 incidents reported in which forceful religious conversion was being done. Also, it was reported religious conversions were going on in the state using deceitful means. So to make a law on this becomes an important matter of policy now,” Siddharth Nath Singh had said.