UP police present the first FIR according to the ordinance against forced religious conversions
Hours after Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel passed a state-enacted ordinance against forced and dishonest conversions, police registered the first case against a Muslim in Bareilly district on Saturday night, senior officials said. .
Avinash Chandra, Additional Managing Director (ADG), Bareilly Area, confirmed that the first information report, or FIR, was recorded at the Devraniya Police Station in Bareilly. He said a Hindu from Sharifnagar village accused a Muslim of increasing pressure on his daughter to convert her to Islam.
It said the author alleged that the Muslim has known his daughter since her college days and that he has been molesting the woman and her family members for the past few months.
The FIR, a copy of which is in HT’s possession, said the defendant made abusive comments and threatened the family with dire consequences as he faced opposition to his advances for the religious conversion of the woman.
Another Bareilly police official said the woman and the defendant are from the same town, they are not married, and the incident has affected community harmony in the town. He said that the defendant has been booked under sections 504 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (for insulting a person) and 506 (for criminal intimidation), and section 3/5 of the Ordinance Prohibiting Illegal Conversion of Uttar Pradesh Religion, 2020, which went into effect on Saturday. The defendant is on the run.
The ordinance has provisions to verify religious conversions made by “seduction, coercion, force, fraud, or marriage.”
Read also | Massive cycle of religious conversions carried out under the guise of love: Chouhan
The state cabinet passed the law earlier this week, targeting what many right-wing groups call “love jihad,” where Muslim men marry Hindu women with the aim of changing the latter’s religion after marriage. Under the ordinance, marriages in which the intention is to change the woman’s religion will be declared void.
Under the provisions of the new law, the violations have become a recognizable crime and not liable to bail. The new law authorizes parents, siblings or close relatives of aggrieved persons to file an FIR for violation of the provisions of the ordinance. The ordinance provides a prison sentence of up to 10 years in some cases for offenders and treats forced and forced conversions as a non-bail offense.
A government spokesman said that those who violate the provisions can be punished with a prison sentence of one to five years with a fine of no less than 15,000 rupees. In the case of girls, who are minors or belong to registered castes or registered tribes, the prison term will be from two to ten years with a minimum fine of 25,000 rupees. In the event of mass conversion, the law provides for prison terms of three to ten years and a minimum fine of Rs 50,000. It requires the courts to award adequate compensation up to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh payable by the accused to the victim.
Anyone who advises or convinces the other person to commit the crime will also invite punishment. And the burden of proof will fall on the accused.