Bareilly: It was around 10.40 pm on 28 November, barely hours after Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel had signed off on the state’s controversial anti-conversion or ‘love jihad’ ordinance, that a married woman’s father arrived at a police station in Bareilly.
Tikaram, a resident of Sharifnagar in Bareilly, sought to file a complaint against the family’s 21-year-old neighbour Uwais Ahmed for allegedly trying to forcibly convert his daughter — married to someone else — to Islam. Based on Tikaram’s complaint, Ahmed was booked. He was arrested four days later, this Wednesday.
Ahmed is the first person to have been booked under the state’s Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020 or the ‘Vidhi Virudh Dharma Samparivartan Pratishedh Adhyadhesh 2020’.
But he wouldn’t have been had a young mother from Bareilly’s Izzatnagar had had her way. This woman had approached police on 27 November with a complaint against a man named Tahir Hussain (21), whom she identified as her husband.
According to the woman, Hussain had told her, in as many words, that he only married her to convert her to Islam.
In her complaint to police, she said she wanted him booked under the new ordinance. Hussain was subsequently arrested but police couldn’t invoke the ordinance as the law was only notified a day after she filed her complaint.
The anti-conversion ordinance doesn’t name any religion but has been brought by the Yogi Adityanath government with the stated objective of curbing so called ‘love jihad’, which Hindutva hardliners describe as a “conspiracy” to convert gullible Hindu women to Islam by misleading them with promises of love.
Controversial in nature, the law appears to have stoked some manner of a frenzy in Bareilly, a district in western Uttar Pradesh.
Not only does Bareilly account for the first arrest under the ordinance, police in the district say they have been receiving multiple complaints from people who want the law invoked retrospectively, for alleged cases dating years back.
Even as some families cheer the law, at least two others have been left bereft by the ordinance itself and the communally-charged suspicions it has triggered within a week of its notification.
With their young sons in jail under charges they allege are trumped up, these families claim they don’t know how to emerge from this crisis. The burden of proving their sons’ innocence, after all, is their responsibility under the ordinance.
Also Read: UP not first to target ‘love jihad’, 2 states have law against forced conversions for marriage
The first case
According to the FIR registered on the basis of Tikaram’s complaint, his daughter had known Uwais Ahmed since the time they were school students. However, he is quoted as saying, Ahmed started a relationship with his daughter and had recently begun pressuring her to convert to Islam. Among other things, Tikaram has also alleged a threat to his family.
“He kept pressuring my daughter to change her religion, and when my family and I refused, he started abusing us and threatened to kill us,” he is quoted as saying in the FIR, which was accessed by ThePrint.
The FIR invokes sections 3 and 5 of the anti-conversion law — while Section 3 states that no person shall convert or try to convert any person from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, fraudulent means or by marriage, Section 5 says a person found guilty under Section 3 will be punished with imprisonment of 1-5 years and a fine of up to Rs 15,000. Sections 504 and 506 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, and criminal intimidation, respectively) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have been invoked as well.
While a case was registered the same day, Ahmed was only arrested on 2 December as he had allegedly been on the run. Ahmed was produced before a magistrate in the Baheri area of Bareilly and remanded in 14 days judicial custody.
ThePrint tried to get in touch with Tikaram for a comment, but couldn’t reach him at his home address or via calls and texts to his mobile phone number.
Tikaram’s home at Sharifnagar is barely 100 metres from the house where Ahmed, a daily-wager, lives with his parents Mohammad Rafiq and Munni.
Speaking to ThePrint, Rafiq and Munni said their son is innocent and is being framed. “He had not spoken to her (the woman) for almost a year and then she got married in June and moved away,” said Rafiq.
Ahmed, Rafiq added, is the sole breadwinner of the family. “How will we survive? He was the only earning member of the family. My other two sons are in Delhi, they don’t even know about this case,” he said.
A wailing Munni added, “What will happen to my son now? How will I survive?”
A resident of the locality, Rajveer, defended Ahmed too. “The boy is innocent, he did not threaten or try to convert anyone,” he said.
When Ahmed was presented before the judicial magistrate at Bareilly’s Baheri court, there was much buzz among passersby and lawyers, many of whom crammed inside the courtroom to steal a glance at the “first accused under the new law”.
Ahmed has pleaded innocence. While on his way to custody, he told ThePrint that he is being framed. “The girl is already married and I have no link with her. I knew her from before because she was in the same village. This is a false case, I am innocent,” he said.
However, a senior police officer, requesting anonymity, rejected the claim that the two had no link, saying they had attempted to elope to Mumbai via Delhi last October. The “plan was foiled”, he said, after the woman’s father filed a complaint.
The woman, the officer added, was stopped at Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh by police, while Ahmed was still in Bareilly.
When confronted, the officer said, Ahmed told police he had planned to elope with the complainant’s daughter.
A case was subsequently registered under sections 363 and 366 of the IPC (kidnapping and kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage), but the matter was settled between the two families after the woman contradicted her father’s complaint — that Ahmed had lured her — and said she left her house because she was angry with her parents, the senior police officer added.
ThePrint has also accessed the FIR filed in the case at the time, and the statement she made to police about the reason she ran away.
Daya Shankar, the Station House Officer at Deorania, the jurisdiction overseeing Sharifnagar, said they will file the charge sheet in the case in approximately another 10 days “as the new law has not been registered into the computer system”.
Also Read: UP interfaith couple, stopped by police from getting married, will now seek DM’s approval
Woman wants case filed retrospectively
In Izzatnagar, a woman believed to be around 28-30 years old claims to have had a harrowing experience since she married Tahir Hussain, 21, at a temple in October last year.
According to her FIR, which has been accessed by ThePrint, the woman had been living with Hussain in the Partapur area. She has alleged that Hussain refused to register their marriage and told her upfront that he had only married her to convert her.
“When I got pregnant, I told Tahir (Hussain) that we should get our marriage registered now that we are going to have a child,” she said, adding that she wanted to secure her child’s and her own future.
On 20 November, she said, when she told Hussain’s family that she wanted to get the marriage registered, his mother and brother “assaulted me and kicked me on the stomach”, allegedly causing her to miscarry.
When she lost her child, Hussain allegedly told her that “you no longer have any proof that you were pregnant”.
“I do not want to marry you and my religion makes me believe in ‘love jihad’,” the FIR then quotes him as having said. The woman has accused him of rape, committing ‘love jihad’, and threatening to kill her.
Hussain was arrested on 28 November and is currently lodged in the Bareilly jail.
ThePrint tried to reach the complainant and her lawyer, but both of them refused to meet in person or speak on the phone despite numerous calls and text messages.
The Station House Officer of Izzatnagar, Sudess Sirohi, said the FIR invoked sections 376, 313, 323 and 506 of the IPC (rape, causing miscarriage, causing hurt & criminal intimidation, respectively). The case was not registered under the new law because the FIR was filed on 27 November, when it was yet to be notified.
The complainant wanted Hussain booked under the new law, he added.
“Although the contents match the ordinance, we cannot book the accused under this law,” he added. “If we do that, then we will have cases pending from 2002 and even before that to be tried under this new law.”
Superintendent of Police (SP) Sansar Singh said “the complainant kept asking for her case to be registered under the new law, but then we had to explain that if no new incident has occurred since she filed the FIR on (27 November) then a case cannot be registered under the new ordinance”.
He added that they have “gotten quite a few requests for retrospective booking of cases/complaints under the new anti-conversion law”. “However, we will never entertain such requests. It is not possible,” he said.
Like Ahmed, Hussain, a daily-wager who earns Rs 150/day, is the sole breadwinner for his family, which includes his mother Kaneez Banu, two brothers aged 8 and 14 years, and two sisters aged 14 and 17. His father passed away seven months ago after suffering a heart attack.
Speaking to ThePrint, Hussain’s employer and friend Musharraf Raza Khan acknowledged that he had started chatting with the complainant on social media under an assumed name but denied the two got married or lived together.
“He started chatting with her (the complainant) on Facebook under the name Kunal, but, aside from that, they had no contact, besides the fact that they stay in the same locality. He is being framed,” said Khan.
Tahir’s family has lived in Partapur for the past 20 years, but their house is currently locked.
Asked why, Kaneez said the complainant had threatened them that if Tahir did not marry her, she would get both her “daughters picked up”. “She also said she would kick us out of the house,” she added.
“How can I live in this house when she keeps threatening us? She also said ‘the government is ours (sarkar hamari hai)’… I didn’t even know that Tahir and Gita were speaking to each other.”
With her son arrested, Kaneez said she didn’t know how the family will survive. “For now, people in the neighbourhood have been helping us out with food and other provisions,” she added, before breaking down into tears. “Please help us, I have no one else but him.”
Ram Sevak, a resident of Partapur who lives in the house adjacent to Hussain’s, appeared suspicious about the allegations against him. “I know the boy, he is very innocent and has only been working since his father passed away,” he said.
Talking about the complainant, SHO Sirohi said she had been married 5-6 years back and had a child from that marriage aged 9-10 years. At present, he added, there is no proof that the complainant had a miscarriage.
Sirohi said she was subject to a medical exam on 28 November, but the report is awaited.
Also Read: Why Sonia, Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi have not said a word on Yogi govt’s ‘love jihad’ law
Bareilly is a Hindu-majority district, where 63.64 per cent of the total population (over 44 lakh people) is Hindu and 34.54 per cent are Muslim, according to the official census date of 2011 and population data of 2020.
However, the part of Bareilly where the first case was registered — Deorania — has more Muslims than Hindus, with a ratio of 60:40, said Station House Officer Daya Shankar.
Bareilly is represented in the assembly by the BJP’s Dr Arun Kumar.
Local residents say there has always been an undercurrent of communal tensions in Bareilly despite the fact that it is known as “saugraha ka sheher” or “peaceful city”.
“Before 2014, when the Modi government came to power, for almost three years, at least once a year, a curfew would be imposed in Bareilly. However, since 2014, no curfew has been imposed,” said writer Sudhir Vidyarthi, who has written books on freedom fighters Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad and has been living in Bareilly since 2003.
Bareilly, he added, has a substantial Muslim population and “the fatwa against Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen was issued here too”.
Deputy Inspector General of Bareily Zone Rajesh Pandey said the local Muslim population had two sects — Deobandi Muslims and Bareilvi Muslims — of which he described the former as being more orthodox.
“There is no segregation between Hindus and Muslims in Bareilly and they all live together. However, it is a communally sensitive area,” he added.
He said there have been riots in the city, recounting one in 2012 and another in 2015-16.
Speaking to ThePrint, religious leaders of both Hinduism and Islam said they saw the new ordinance as a necessary intervention, even though they had very different reasons for saying so.
Kamal Nayan Das, mahant of the Tulsi Math in Bareilly, hailed the new law but said the “punishment laid out is less”.
“Maximum punishment should be hanging (phansi),” said Das. “People from different faiths should not get married. This new law will not be misused at all,” he added.
‘Love jihad’, Das said, is “not love for girls, but love for one’s own religion and to spoil Hindu girls”.
According to him, ‘love jihad’ first emerged in Mumbai in the film world, when “people started entering inter-faith marriages”.
Maulana Shahabuddin Rizvi, the general secretary of the All India Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islam, an organisation of Bareilvi-Sunni Muslims, Bareilly Sharif, welcomed the new ordinance and said it had some positive aspects. “The new law will create fear in the minds of young Muslim boys to not engage in any relationship or get married to non-Muslim women as it is haram (blasphemous),” he said.
He, however, added that the law is political in nature because “whoever was involved in drafting the law was serving their political agenda and did not care about society”.
“Their main aim was to create tension and divide in Hindu-Muslim relations and brotherhood,” he added, saying the law had potential to be misused. There is no such thing as ‘love jihad’, he added.
Burden of proof
The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020 sets out a jail term of 1-10 years and a fine of Rs 15,000 to Rs 50,000 under different categories.
One of its more controversial provisions is that the burden of proof is on the person accused of conducting forced conversions, although, under Indian law, the burden of proof in criminal cases is generally on the prosecution side.
This means, under the UP ordinance, an accused person will have to prove that they were not responsible for religious conversion through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or marriage.
Advocate Mohammad Arif, who is representing Ahmed, said there is no case made out against his client. According to him, Ahmed is just a pawn for the authorities in Bareilly to curry favour with the state government.
“This is being done to please the BJP government and CM Yogi Adityanath, so that they know the first case under the new ordinance was registered in Bareilly,” he said.
Arif added that forcible religious conversion is wrong but said the IPC was sufficient to prosecute such crimes and a separate law was not required.
However, SP Sansar Singh said the law will prevent forced conversions by marriage “which is creating a lot of communal tension in the area”.
“Under the new law, all this will come to a stop,” he said. “Getting married is one thing but why do you need to change your religion? And mostly it was the girl who would change her religion. So all of that will change now.”
Asked about its potential for misuse, he said it was a risk with every law.
The role of police with respect to this law is vital for two reasons, he added. “First, to make people aware of the new law, and second to ensure that it is implemented properly,” he said.
Also Read: UP doesn’t need a new anti-conversion law. But India needs a stronger Special Marriage Act
Problem is there no uniform law. There should be one law for all. Muslims should not be allowed to marry four women. If birth ratio is 1:1 where will Muslims get other 3 women, even if only small % of them are keeping four wives.? so naturally they will try to get non-Muslim women, whether in UP or in Kerala. In addition Muslims use gangsterism to prevent Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims. Statistics show that fact. Therefore Love Jihad type laws are needed to balance the field. It should be scrapped once Muslim society becomes modern and demand uniform civil code.
Due to India’s scoundrel politicians, Muslims have been allowed to selectively implement Sharia law laws. If Sharia law is implemented to deny Muslim women rights given to them by Indian constitution , why shouldn’t it be implemented in criminal justice, when criminal is Muslim.
So either there should be a uniform civil & criminal code or there should be separate Muslim non-Muslim civil code and also separate criminal justice. So in case of Muslims criminals, it should be like Saudi Arabia.
Non-Muslims should demand that Muslims pick one or other, They should not allow assorted secularist politicians to take them for ride by encouraging Muslims to cherry pick.
Right is right and wrong is wrong. Don’t punish the right and don’t let the wrong go scot-free. If our intention is peace and harmony, anything is fine. If our motive is wrong, nothing is right. Freedom cannot be curbed and force cannot be tolerated. All must watch and share and contribute for better tomorrow.
The law needs to be applied retrospectively so that maximum number of muslim males can be put in jail.
Put in jail for what Mr Adarsh Hoizal? And since you suggest that laws be applied retroactively, should that apply also to you ?
Girls and boys are both responsible equally they are adults
These people will not live themselves peacefully nor allow others to have peace. These are the results of blunder by m k Gandhi
Are you talking of your Hindutva friends Mr P D Amarnath when you brayed :
“These people will not live themselves peacefully nor allow others to have peace”
“These are the results of blunder by m k Gandhi”
No. These are results of blunder by Nehru & his Keralite advisors. They refused to link safety of non-Muslims and Muslims, who were against partition, in Pakistan with security of Muslim league supporters in India. It was also their monkey like behavior in Tibet issue. They rush to recognize Communist China and champion it’s cause in world forum without first securing Tibet’s Independence. With their stupidity they turned into nothing British effort of keeping British India safe by surrounding it with weak buffer states.
Compliments to Print for reporting these incidents when MSM is busy criticizing this LJ bill
ThePrint’s sympathy towards the alleged criminals and their families is astounding. But no such detailed description of the complainants or the problems faced by their families.
Whatever is happening good for Islam in a long run ,Musilms are not able to implement Sharia law but What Yogi is implemented like Sharia Law there is no so called love jihad in Islam and force converstion. If force converstion were allowed in both Islam or Christianity, than India would not have been able to sustain as majority Santan Dharam followers.
First of all BJP leaders whoes daughters had married to Muslim men should be punished under this draconian law including the biggest Hate spreader Subramanium Swamy, this law is merely just to spread Hate and polarize vote Bank, Yes there is problem in post marriage life, even in same religion marriages that doesn’t mean the one married just to convert, LOVE JIHAD is just BJP/RSS Hindutva to demoralize Muslims
He has done his job by producing 10 offsprings as it was the will of God and not one’s sexual desires. What more to be done now in this age. How can he be expected to concentrate on their studies and better standards of living.
This reporter is doing media trial to give clean chit to the accused, so many adjective and one sided version. There are other cases too like Palghar case, Delhi love couple killing case. You have not found to cover in those intense. People are not surprised to see what you are doing because they have been seeing you doing this for long. You do not have right of media trial and you don have right to communalize this thing. The rules do not mention any religion. There may other romeos of other differnt faiths, you are not reporting those too. So all these clear you agenda driven reporting. I personally welcome inter-faith marriage, but when there is conversion, it should be called inter-faith, it becomes single faith marriage. So, if you want to encourages inter-faith marriages, please report on the key point, there should not be convert during and after marriage. And why it is necessary to convent? Can the couple declare themselves as atheist and get married and remain to even after marriage? report on these, not to blame against who support this law.
This whole article is written in a manner that is biased in favour of muslims. Look at the pictures of the elderly muslims to invoke a sense of grief like as if Hindu’s are wrong for having their sons arrested, and their sons are innocent because the old people are crying and poor. Disgusting. The writer should be ashamed of themselves, and goes to show you cannot trust this website with unbiased reporting.
This article is sympathising with poor muslim boys without understanding grave offense of chatting with a hindu girl in assumed hindu name.
Poor muslim boys who cannot look after their old mothers do not deserve marriage let alone inter-relious one.
GREAT WORK.BAN EVERTHING THAT IS JIHADI. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK.
PEOPLE OF THE WORLD SHOULD BE CAREFUL FROM TWO TYPES OF PEOPLE .
BOTH THESE ARE A CURSE TO MANKIND AND I AM WRITING THIS BECAUSE I WORKED WITH THESE PEOPLE AND I STUDIED THE HATRED THAT THESE PEOPLE HAVE AGAINST OTHERS AND AS A MEDICAL DOCTOR I WOULD ADVISE PEOPLE TO BE EXTREMLY CAREFUL WHEN DEALING WITH THESE TWO GROUPS.
Dr Mathews Jacob: Before you bray that Muslims and Chinese are a “curse to mankind” please assess your own Syrian Christian community and let us know where on the spectrum of “curse – blessing” your community fits in.
Then, one can have a discussion of whether a man like you who has undertaken the Hippocratic Oath is worthy of practising as a doctor when his views are similiar to those of the Praveen Togadias. Mayaben Kodnanis and Josef Mengeles of this world. Like you Mr Mathews Jacob, Dr Togadia, Dr Kodnani and Dr Mengele they too had taken the Hippocratic Oath. Not that it stopped Kodnani and Mengele from becoming angels of death – the former in Naroda Patiya and the latter in the concentration camps of Hitler’s Europe Just as it has not prevented you and Praveen Togadia from being messengers of hate.
PATHETIC DR MATHEWS JACOB.
Liberal media instead of investigating properly has been writing stories about inter religious marriages which happens in cities far away from UP villages, Now trurth is coming out.
One of worst channel the print don’t become next Quint or the wire. Only Shekhar gupta sir is the only journalist in the the print. Anyone who sees cuttheclutter will pay nd subscriber but it is this kind of biased journalism which stops Ppl from subscribering (taking membership) of your channel. Please do some good journalism which unbiased like Shekhar sir
The basic reason for love Jihad is the skewed ratio of
Marragiable age females to males in muslims esp in north India is 675/1000 and due to polygamy in Islam the ratio has further fallen to 480/1000,just like in Haryana due to female infanticide.so the earlier governments vote bank politics to appease the minorities turned a blind eye to these conversations.
Same thing happened in UK with British Christian girls being Trapped and converted to Islam.now with
Europe and rest of the countries waking upto the fact that these are not random marriages borne out of love but a larger plot to increase their numbers and destabilizes the countries politically by radicalizing
The youth.The steps by UP govt.is commendable
Which will indirectly decrease female infanticide
In Muslim communities. If you deny land you cant grow crops.it is as simple as that.The print should
Publish articles to prevent injustice to Muslim women and Triple talaq bill is in the right direction to empower them. One nation,one civil law throughout the country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari,from Gujarat to assam. All Indians, Indians first.
@ Venkat are you living under a bridge or rock do you even know our pm left his wife without taking divorce and he made triple talaq law ? Why would anyone will give triple talaq instead just leave his wife like our pm did and one day whoever did will become future pm, these bachelor janatha party/ bramhachari janatha party will manipulate and make every one blind bhakt
Well said, people of India forget that Mrs Narendra Modi was also a indian woman where laws of india on marriage were not followed. Grave injustice was done to her and the poor lady’s family, even today. When a man cannot respect his own wife what respect he will give to other women?
Modi and his wife were forced into child marriage. Do you support child marriage ?
No single complain from muslim girl is heard about. So Love jehad is a reality. It is very surprise that so many people complain about this. Then it is a reality. But police have failed to prevent. How police finds girl in vast country is she is abducted. Police gave cleancheat to NDTV report inspecting forteen case. Eleven of them are jailed.
Why is this not under the communalism section?
Accha kiya police ne more and more such criminals should be published
Hats off to Yogi for such laws.Fundamentalists will be taught lesson and be behind bars.Love Jihad gaya baad mein.After some time we will manhandle such rascals on our own .India cannot become Pakistan by such nonsense.If their thoughts were such they should have left India then and there at time of partition
Its already became pakistan. 😁
It is better to be Hindu Pakistan than Muslim Pakistan. Secu monkeys should send to trees.
Anti secular, democracy poeple should be taught a lesson they want to steal our democratic holy Land and bring in rapists rohingyas and change demography. Indians have become outsiders in bengal and rohingya criminals just becoz they speak bengali cannot change out secular fabric
Well, interfaith marriages were never admissible in islam . Those who did it ofcourse had breached the perimeter .
So much is written for the accused ,he has bread earner. If the accused is concerned for his family, would he have married ?
Learn to be muslims yourself first for God sake. These force full conversion and violence are not part of Islam. Who teaches you all this? Have these people opened the basic book in Islam (The Quran) forget the hadiths. Open it and see what it has to say
1. “There is no compulsion in religion, (2:256)
2. O believers treat women with kindness even if you dislike them; it is quite possible that you dislike something which Allah might yet make a source of abundant good (An Nisa 4:19).
3. Sura 16 Ayat 90
Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition
And these are just three verses. Learn your religion first, there are many more commands to be good. We are tired of these terrorist and Bad people representing the wrong Islam.
By God , You should be our ambassador in
Pakistan where scores of non muslim girls are converted every month. Hindus don’t have Hadith , so don’t have conversion disease
It’s law full religion …
Don’t mention unlawful …
However we agree with this new law…
Don’t need your fake articles …
It is good that print will be busy crusading against every case n try to prove there is no love jihad. Demographic changes have brought havoc in kashmir, Bengal, Assam, kerela n it is growing. For yrs we have been force fed that teroorism has no religion.
Government must concentrate on Economy, Development, Law & Order, Education instead of petty things like love Jihad.. Government has nothing to do that’s why they are diverting issues.
Kerala church raised this issue and approaches police..
One person who should be given big punishment is Kamal Nayan Das, mahant of the Tulsi Math. I think the first guy is quite innocent but not the second one. He chatted under an assumed name.
A ‘peaceful’ city where fatwas are issued, okay got it wrote that down. All the cities who henceforth want to be called as ‘peaceful’ should have adequate facilities for issuing fatwa.
Delhi-Seelampur is salivating to get its ‘peaceful’ certificate after seeing this.
BJP should not only get anti-conversion law in BJP-ruled states, it should get throughout the country. Knowing pretty-well, Hindus in India are a loose group of people, these Abrahamic religions are converting Hindus to increase their fold. The Liberals, by seeing and quoting some polished Muslims, say everything in the country is hunky dory. It is not so. Uneducated sections in the minority religions are more fanatic.
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