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Opinion

FIR against 14 under new law on conversion

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A case against 14 people was registered on Thursday under a recently enacted Uttar Pradesh law to punish forced religious conversions of women after interreligious marriage, police said.

Police Superintendent Sushil Ghule said the case was registered on the basis of a complaint under the Uttar Pradesh Illegal Conversion of Religion Prohibition Ordinance-2020 at the Chiraiyakot Police Station in Mau District.

Police said the author alleged that his 30-year-old daughter was abducted by a person he identified as Shabab Khan, alias Rahul, for her religious conversion.

He filed the complaint against Shabab Khan and 13 of his acquaintances, stating that his daughter’s wedding was scheduled for November 30, but on the eve of the Khan marriage he kidnapped her with the intention of converting her religion. “Three teams have been deployed to arrest all the accused and recover the woman. We will make a breakthrough soon as we have some important leads, ”said Ghule, the Mau police superintendent.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel approved the state-enacted ordinance against dishonest and forced religious conversions on November 28. The first case under the new law was registered within hours against a Muslim in Bareilly that same night. He was later arrested. The ordinance has provisions to verify religious conversions made by “seduction, coercion, force, fraud, or marriage.”

The state cabinet passed the law in early November, targeting what many right-wing groups call “love jihad,” which involves Muslim men marrying Hindu women with the aim of changing the latter’s religion after marriage. According to the ordinance, marriages with the intention of changing the woman’s religion will be declared null and void.

Under the provisions of the new law, rape has become a recognizable and non-bailable crime.

The new law establishes a prison sentence of up to 10 years in some cases for offenders and treats forced conversions as a non-bail offense..

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