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Indian Cops Make First Arrest in Newly-Enacted Law Against 'Love Jihad' in Uttar Pradesh

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The Uttar Pradesh government's recently-promulgated law against “love jihad”, a term used to describe the forced conversion of non-Muslim women to Islam, aims to prevent such incidents. Some other Bharatiya Janata Party-governed states in the country are considering stopping forceful religious conversions with similar steps.

Police in India's Uttar Pradesh state made its first arrest under the new anti-conversion law that targets “love jihad”, officials said on Thursday.

According to the police, the accused, identified as Owais Ahmad, was produced before Magistrate Priyanka Anjor in Baheri town in the state's Bareilly district.

Speaking to Sputnik, Superintendent of Police in Bareilly Sansar Singh said this is the first arrest under the new law.

"The accused was arrested on Wednesday and has been sent to 14 days judicial custody”, Singh said. 

Ahmad was arrested based on a complaint filed by Tikaram, the father of the girl, on 28 November, hours after the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated by Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel. 

The legislation makes religious conversion a non-bailable offence, inviting penalties of up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

In the complaint, Tikaram had accused Ahmad of “coercing, coaxing and alluring” his daughter into converting to Islam. 

“Despite repeated disapprovals by me and my family, the accused is not listening, and is applying pressure on me and my family through abuses and death threats to fulfil his desire”, the complainant stated. 

Police said a case under Sections 504 (offending a person), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, along with Sections 3 and 5 of the new law were registered against Ahmad.

As per the new ordinance, no person shall attempt to convert another by misrepresentation, force, allurement, any fraudulent means, or by marriage. If a person converts back to the religion they most recently belonged to, that is not to be considered as conversion under the ordinance. Any aggrieved person can lodge a complaint, and the burden of proof lies on the accused or the person who converted.


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