New Delhi: In the last week of 2020, Uttarakhand saw its first case under the Freedom of Religion Act, after the administration in Dehradun registered an FIR against a man named Samir Ali, his wife Sana and two others for religious conversion without following norms.
The move came two months after the Uttarakhand High Court ordered an inquiry into the case.
Now, according to the probe, Circle Officer (Sadar) Anuj Kumar has found that the couple didn’t provide one-month notice to the district magistrate (DM) prior to Sana’s conversion from Hinduism to Islam — as directed under the law brought in 2018. She was born Diksha Tamta.
The FIR at the Patel Nagar Police Station has also named the qazi who performed the conversion, and Ali’s uncle, Shaukeen. The qazi didn’t inform the district magistrate either, as is mandated, said the FIR.
Speaking to ThePrint, Ali said, “I did not even know that an FIR had been registered against us. I got to know yesterday (30 December) only after a friend saw the newspaper and then called me up.”
The case came to light after the couple moved the high court in October in a criminal writ petition seeking protection because Ali’s father-in-law was against the marriage.
“I went to the high court since both of us came from different religions and I anticipated some problems. Thus, asked the court for protection to secure our future,” he said.
This is the first case to be registered under the Act in the state, Shweta Choubey, Superintendent of Police (City), told ThePrint.
Also read: UP Muslim man ‘elopes’ with a Hindu girl, police put 13 of his family in jail for ‘conspiracy’
High court orders protection while ordering inquiry
In October, after the couple moved the court, a two-judge bench noted that Sana had converted and married of her own free will. It directed Senior Superintendent of Police in Dehradun to provide protection to the couple.
However, in response to the state counsel that both Samir and Sana had violated provisions of the Freedom to Religion Act, the court ordered Dehradun DM to conduct an inquiry into the matter “as many similar cases are repeatedly coming before us”.
In view of this, Anuj Kumar conducted an inquiry into the matter. He told ThePrint, “Prima facie I found that there was a violation of the law and therefore an FIR has been filed. The investigation is still on in the matter.”
The FIR, which has been accessed by ThePrint, has booked all four under Sections 3, 8 and 12 of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018.
Section 3 states that no one shall convert or attempt to convert another person’s religion by coercion or misrepresentation. Section 8 pertains to giving a month’s declaration to the DM of wanting to convert one’s religion. It also says the person performing the conversion must also give one month’s notice. Section 12 notes that when an offence has been conducted under this Act, then whoever has taken part in it will be charged as though they have “actually committed” the offence.
In a press statement Tuesday, the Dehradun police said “both of them (Samir and Diksha) being adults decided to get married” and went to a qazi named Mufti Salim, who authorised Diksha’s religious conversion without any documentation and named her Sana. The two got married on 28 September in the presence of Samir’s uncle, Shaukeen.
Also read: Interfaith couple ‘harassed’ by Hindu vigilante groups in MP, police send girl to parents
‘Did not know procedure, Act unconstitutional’
Ali said he first met Sana at tuition classes in Dehradun, and they got into a relationship a year and a half back.
“I did not know there was a procedure to be followed to convert one’s religion,” Ali said. The couple lives in Dehradun with Ali’s family, which runs a local kirana shop, while he works in a bakery in the city.
“I am scared, it is difficult not to be. This is the first case to be registered under this law, I do not know what to expect,” he told ThePrint.
The couple’s lawyer Mohammad Matloob said many in the area do not know that one needs to provide a month’s notice to the DM before conversion. He added that it was on record that Sana converted of her own accord.
He said Sana’s father had also later given a written affidavit to the DM, high court and the senior superintendent of police at the end of November 2020 stating that he had no objection to the marriage.
“We will also be challenging the FIR as the Act is against fundamental rights and violates the right to privacy. This Act is unconstitutional,” Matloob said.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled on 11 January.
Also read: How Special Marriage Act is condemning interfaith couples to UP-style anti-conversion laws
Lets wait for the suitcase
How the hell these women convert their religion just to marry it disgust me. Don’t you have a personal life is your man is not accepting your religion why the hell you are marrying him.
Your journalism sucks…why nobody is talking about why conversion is needed for marriage or love?.
Why only woman has no objection in getting coverted? , man should also not have any objection.
This mental illness is hidden in you research just showing the info like woman had no issue in getting converted
If woman is converted then she must have been asked for it which she agreed.
The myth of LOVE JIHAD must be busted.
It requires following data.
1) How many Muslims boys marry HINDU girls.
2) HOW MANY HINDU BOYS AND MUSLIM GIRLS GET MARRIED.
3) In above both cases how many conversion takes place from which religion to which religion
4) All above data should be examined without religious prejudice.
This data might show that LOVE happens between both religions between both the boys and girls and than the MYTH will be easily busted.
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