Nitu Shukla's mother Rekha, crying in the arms in front of her house at Makhi Beher village in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh. | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint
Nitu Shukla's mother Rekha, crying in front of her house at Makhi Beher village in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh. | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint
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Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh: A couple of hours before dawn on 24 November, 19-year-old Nitu Shukla, a Hindu woman from Sitapur’s Makhu Beher village, laid down pillows on her bed and covered them with a quilt to create an impression of her being in bed. Then she packed her family’s “entire savings” — Rs 2 lakh, a pair of gold earrings, and a neckpiece — and some clothes, and left the house with her Muslim boyfriend.

An hour later, her mother Rekha woke up and called out to Nitu for help with the daily chores — only to notice that she was missing.

After attempts to trace her failed, Nitu’s father made a complaint at Tambaur police station stating that his daughter has eloped with “some boy” she used to speak over phone daily. The family didn’t know until then that the “boy” was Muslim.

Following the complaint, a case of “kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman to compel her for marriage”, was registered against an “unknown” person.

A couple of days later, the story took a turn when the woman’s family found out that the man she had eloped with was Jibrail, a 29-year-old Muslim who frequented the house to help out with odd jobs and lived barely 100 metres from their house.

As soon as the police was informed about the involvement of a Muslim man in the case, sections of criminal conspiracy under the new illegal conversion law were invoked against him and his entire family on 30 November.

Now, while the couple is ‘on the run’, 13 members of Jibrail’s family, including his widowed mother, uncles, aunts and cousins, are in jail for “hatching a conspiracy” to help him elope with a Hindu woman with the “common intention” of “forcefully converting her to Islam”.


Also read: UP Muslim teen meets Dalit girl for ‘pizza outing’, lands in jail under anti-conversion law


A proclaimed offender

After finding out that Jibrail was missing from his home, and a few villagers confirmed about his relationship with Nitu, there was panic followed by a “rigorous investigation” by more than 10 policemen to track down the couple.

Six police teams and two SWAT teams spread out across Lucknow, Badaun and Lakhimpur Khedi, and even went to the Nepal border to trace the couple.

Amid the arrest of 13 of Jibrail’s family members, searches were conducted at the houses of his friends and relatives. Wireless messages were sent across districts at all toll plazas and police booths, and checks were conducted at nakas, but to no avail.

On 7 December, a non-bailable warrant was issued against Jibrail and he was declared an “absconder”.

Court notice outside the door of the accused, Jibrail, at his Makhi Beher village house in Sitapur. | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint
Court notice outside the door of the accused, Jibrail, at his Makhi Beher village house in Sitapur. | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint

“It instantly became a case of ‘love jihad’. Had she gone with a Hindu man, we would just write a complaint, try to look for her. This, however, has become serious since she went with a Muslim,” a senior police officer at Tambaur told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.

“After an NBW was issued in his name, we took out advertisements in newspapers, local radio channels and even got announcements made through loudspeakers in villages, asking him to come out from wherever he was hiding,” the officer said.

Jibrail has now been given 30 days to surrender and appear before the court, under Section 82 of the CrPC (proclamation for person absconding). In case he does not appear in the court before 18 January, he will be declared a proclaimed offender and all his property — movable and immovable — will be seized and attached by the police under Section 83 of the CrPC (attachment of Property of person absconding).

The police also carried out a munaadi, wherein a person beats drums and goes from village to village to warn the people who may be helping the couple, and convey to them that he may surrender at the earliest.


Also read: ‘We step in when our women step out with Muslim men’ — how UP law empowers Hindu bully groups


‘We are Brahmins, we will never accept this relationship’

Rekha Shukla, Nitu’s mother, is dejected. She knows her daughter went with Jibrail willingly, but is finding it hard to accept.

“The night before she had dinner with me and told me that she would do the utensils the next day. When I woke up in the morning around 4.30, I saw her lying down on the cot. I thought she was sleeping with her face covered. When she did not wake up till 6 am, I removed the quilt to wake her up and found pillows under it. I was shocked,” she said.

“I still thought that she may have gone to relieve herself. But realised soon that she had eloped. I ran to tell Nitu’s father and also gathered people around. Everyone started looking for her,” she added.

Rekha Shukla outside her house in Makhi Beher village. | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint
Rekha Shukla outside her house in Makhi Beher village. | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint

Later, Rekha found that Nitu also took her jewellery and cash. “We looked for her all day but did not find her. She took her clothes, my jewellery and all my life savings,” she said.

Now, Rekha wants Jibrail punished. “I feel cheated. She tricked us. Why would she do that? That man who took her must be arrested and put behind bars. We are Brahmins and will never accept this relationship. The police are working hard to trace her down,” Rekha said.

‘They took everyone’

Jibrail’s house, a stone’s throw away from Nitu’s, is in a poor condition. The lock is broken and the utensils are scattered, some even cracked. It gives a sense that his relatives resisted arrest.

The state of the house of the accused, Jibrail. | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint
The state of the house of the accused, Jibrail. | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint

“They (the police) took everyone. All his uncles, mother, aunts, cousins,” a neighbour said. “He left with the girl and his widowed mother is now suffering.”

On the night the couple planned to elope, Jibrail’s neighbours told ThePrint, there was a wedding feast in a nearby village and everyone had gone there, so no one saw them leave.

“Most villagers were at the feast. We were all staying for the night. We got to know of this elopement only when we returned. It is possible they took advantage of the entire village being at the wedding and eloped. Or else someone must have seen and stopped them,” the neighbour said.


Also read: VHP asks Kejriwal to bring anti-conversion law, says people from UP ‘seeking refuge’ in Delhi


‘Muslim family wanted to convert Hindu woman, kill her’

While the woman’s family believes she left willingly, the police said they suspect she was “abducted” by Jibrail with an intention to “convert her” and then “kill her”.

“His entire family was with him in this. He had been planning this for over six years and that is why we have arrested his entire family,” the police officer quoted above said.

According to the officer, Jibrail often “stalked” the woman and visited her house on one pretext or the other, with an intention to “woo” her.

“He had been after her for the last six years. He conspired to abduct the girl, along with his family. While he executed the plan, his family arranged for logistics. Our investigation shows that he wanted to take her, change her religion. We also suspect that he had a plan to execute her,” the officer said.

The police even put Jibrail’s phone on surveillance but found out that he had sold his phone for Rs 3,000, just two days before he eloped.

Call detail records of whoever Jibrail spoke to were also accessed by the police and raids were conducted at all places he could probably have gone to.

“We took out a list of people he was in touch with in the last few months and raided all those places. We also found out that he had a plan to go to Ludhiana on 30 November. Our team went there, but did not find him,” the officer said.

The police has also accessed some WhatsApp chats of Jibrail with one of his cousin’s in which he talks about his “love for Nitu”. It also claimed that Jibrail’s family members have confessed their “involvement” in this elopement.

“He was trying to entice her and we have proof about that in WhatsApp chats between Jibrail and his cousin. Moreover, one of his uncles and cousins who have been arrested have accepted that they helped Jibrail. They arranged a stay for the couple the night after they eloped. The two also stayed in one of their houses for the second night and gave them some money,” he said.

All this, the officer said, shows “common conspiracy of the family to trap the Hindu girl and convert her”.

“We have been working day and night to solve this case. We really hope that he returns and surrenders, if not for himself, for his family. We have put all the pressure we could,” the officer said.


Also read: How Special Marriage Act is condemning interfaith couples to UP-style anti-conversion laws


 

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12 COMMENTS

  1. “She” stole cash and all valuables her family had because shah Rukh made her Gina tingle. Look forward to this Jibtail jailed soon.

  2. Its pretty obvious that there is a generation gap. The newer generation will not bow down to the Draconian rules put forward by the elders. The elders will never accept any cross faith marriages. The only way to end this problem is either to ban intercaste and interreligious marriages and romantic, and live-in relationships altogether in one go or if the girl wants to marry a person of another faith or community or caste, she or her lover has to pay a huge amount of money or gold or something to the parents of the girl as compensation for having raised, fed, and educated with all their savings. Employ either of these methods in the law and most of these supposed elopements and conversions and all such things will cease to exist. Also raise the age of having a relationship and marriage for girls from 24-24 onwards and for boys from 27-28 onwards. If the Supreme court brings in such laws, especially the legal age of relationships and marriages, both boys and girls would take rational and wise decisions maturely before even thinking about eloping. If the Supreme court can make a law that if a married woman has an extramarital relationship and it is not a crime, then making these laws surely will do a lot of good to all.

  3. Don’t ask for donations by showing this blatant hypocrisy where you’re systematically targeting single side of coin.

    I bet you didn’t write a single article about Rahul Rajpoot’s death in Delhi. The guy didn’t even want to convert the girl but was lynched brutally. Shame on pathetic standards of journalism in India.

  4. Shameful Journalism by “ThePrint”. The entire emphasis is on the religion. What would have been your views if it was the other way round? Disgusting news reporting, made entirely to incite communal hatred. Both of the people involved are adults and have done so with their own free will.

  5. wITH SO MUCH LOVE, THE ONLY POINT YOU DIDNOT PUT IN INVERTED COMMAS IS THE MONEY SHE HAS ELOPED WITH. WHY?
    ITS SUCH A DEAD GIVE AWAY FOR YOUR INTENTION

  6. This is a clear case of Love Jihad. Intention to convert the girl to Islam is writ large in the whole affair and his family members are intimately involved in the act of abduction and elopement.

    • How can a woman elope with and being abducted by the same man at the same time. Mr. B.V.Shenoy ? The girl left on her own.

      • so what? Would you support the Girl’s Act of Cheating? Dont You think that the Muslim Boy also involved in giving idea of stealing cash and jewelries? Imagine a situation where hindu boy elopes with a muslim girl!!!. How Muslims reacted? Th UP Govt did a good job to put full stop for this love Jihad.The boys family is definitely involved in this case. They (muslims) Know well how to Play card of Victim better than “THE PRINT”. “The QUINT” Print is such a Dirty Media which jeopardize the social fabrics of INDIA..

  7. Why is print focussing on muslim men and HINDU woman.

    Haven’t you got report’s of HINDU boy and muslim girl.

    I think a analysis is necessary.

    Why news website are not being neutral but reporting
    Love other way round to dismiss LOVE JIHAD as a reality or otherwise.

  8. This is awful, so many cases where this Love Jihad ordinance is being used with the prime intention to make people suffer because of their religion. What can be done to stop it??

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