Police arrested a 25-year-old private tutor from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, for kidnapping his 18-year-old woman student and forcing her to convert to Islam, among the processes referred to popularly as “love jihad”. The cops got the custody of the tutor, Amaan, on 3 February. The woman was sent back to her family after the police recorded her statement before a magistrate at a court in Meerut.
Police say the accused and the Class 12 student developed a friendship during the tuition classes. Amaan allegedly asked her to elope with him. He said that they would get married if she were to denounce her faith and embrace Islam. When the victim refused, Amaan allegedly threatened her, saying he would murder her younger brother.
Scared, the student left for Delhi with her brother on 2 February. Her parents had no clue where their children were. The teenager’s parents, after failing to find her, filed a police complaint, naming Amaan as the main suspect in her abduction.
Based on the complaint, police registered a case of kidnapping under Section 362 of the Indian Penal Code and initiated efforts to locate the teenager. The investigators traced her to a locality in Delhi. “We brought her to Meerut and then arrested Amaan. We have added the relevant section of the UP anti-conversion (love jihad) ordinance to the FIR after she recorded her statement before the magistrate and alleged that Amaan forced her to convert at a mosque in Delhi,” a report by media quoted a police officer as saying.
In another incident of love jihad, police in Gorakhpur had last month arrested a man booked under unlawful religious conversion law from Karnataka and handed over the teenage girl, who was allegedly kidnapped by him, to her family.
According to the police, the father of the girl, aged 19 years, had lodged a complaint against the man from Karnataka on 11 January, accusing him of kidnapping her after befriending her while not revealing his true religious identity.
On 2 February, supporters of the Hindu Jagran Manch and Bajrang Dal staged a demonstration at the police station, demanding that police trace the woman at the earliest. “We are happy that we managed to save the Class XII student. A number of women have fallen victims to such a deep-rooted nexus for conversion in our state,” said Sachin Sirohi, chief of Hindu Jagran Manch’s state unit.
The anti-conversion laws prohibit any religious conversion by coercion, force, undue influence, allurement, fraud or by marriage, and makes such a marriage liable to be declared void. It makes such an act of conversion a non-bailable, criminal offence. Fourteen cases have been lodged under the law since it came into effect on 28 November.