Uttar Pradesh police seem to be very enthused about chasing the phantom of ‘Love Jihad’. So much so that it is now questioning couples who belong to the same faith! Of course the couple here is Muslim, perhaps the one faith that especialy riles bigots if there is a couple in love involved. This time the victims are a Muslim groom and bride who were married in a mosque in Kushinagar, however the police station picked them up, and kept them overnight at the police station. The police say they acted on a call from someone who alleged that there was a case of so-called “love jihad” underway at the mosque.
The police officer, in a soft tone can be heard saying the bride and groom were let go. However there seems to be no apology for terrorising a young couple on the night of their wedding.
यू पी पुलिस पे “लव जिहाद” का भूत ?
कुशीनगर की एक मस्जिद में निकाह कर रहे मुस्लिम दूल्हा-दुल्हन को पुलिस थाने उठा ले गयी।रात भर थाने में रख कर सुबह छोड़ा।किसी नफरती ने पुलिस को फ़ोन कर दिया था कि मस्जिद में “लव जिहाद” हो रहा है।
सोचिए दूल्हा-दुल्हन के दिल पे क्या गुज़री होगी ? pic.twitter.com/jDLcITjRhQ
— Kamal khan (@kamalkhan_NDTV) December 11, 2020
The UP Police have also not explained why it acted this way, and stopped the Muslim couple’s wedding based on mere rumours. According to news reports the incident took place on Tuesday and the police acted after it “received a phone call claiming that the groom, a Muslim man, was marrying a Hindu girl after converting her”. Acting fast, the Kushinagar police stopped the wedding ceremony and took the couple to a police station. The police reacted to mere rumours of so-called “love jihad”, reported The Indian Express on Friday.
According to news reports the 39-year-old groom, Haider Ali, has also alleged that the police “beat him up with a leather belt and tortured him for hours at the Kasya Police Station” he said. “One of the policemen asked another to skin me…I tried to talk to them,” recounted Ali.
The police kept the couple at the station overnight and released them on Wednesday, only after they learnt that they both were Muslims. The brother of the bride, 28-year-old sister Shabeela Khatoon, had to come from Azamgarh district and tell the police that the family had no problem with this marriage. Khatoon’s family had to tell the that she was a Muslim, just like the groom, and according to news report they even sent “a photo of her Aadhaar Card as proof of her religion.”
Ali, who works as a barber, told the IE that they were taken to the police station around 7.30 PM when there was a small celebration underway after the wedding ceremony, however when the police team arrived they alleged there had been no nikaah at all. “They wouldn’t listen to anything and took us to the police station…There they let the cleric go after he changed his statement and said the nikaah wasn’t final yet,” alleged Ali.
The Kasya Police Station House Officer Sanjay Kumar blamed “miscreants” for spreading the rumours, adding that the couple were allowed to go after they found out that they are from the same religion. Circle Officer Piyush Kant Rai, meanwhile, said that the police took prompt action as “the atmosphere is tense and the administration is strict about such cases” stated the news report. The Police denied the allegations of torture.
Meanwhile, according to the news report, one Mushtaqeem Ali, a watchman from Haider Ali’s village Gurmiya, said he phoned the police at the behest of some Hindu youths. The report quotes one Arman Khan, a local social activist, who said that some men who claimed to be members of Hindu Yuva Vahini, a ‘nationalist’ youth organisation formed by Chief Minister Adityanath, had “interrogated” the couple before the police arrived. Khan said that as Ali had sought his help to get married to Khatoon, he too was taken to the police station on Tuesday along with the cleric who was conducting the nikaah. Ali has stated that he and Khatoon had known each other for a long time, and that she had run away from her home and moved into his rented room a week ago. The police said that her family had lodged a missing person’s report at a police station in Azamgarh after she left home on December 4.
Multiple such cases of police intervention in cases where consenting adults have expressed the desire to get married. However, this may be the first case where the bride and groom were both Muslim, and concenting adults. The Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Anandiben Patel promulgated the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020 (Uttar Pradesh Vidhi Viruddh Dharm Samparivartan Pratishedh Adhyadesh 2020) on November 28. This was four days after the Adityanath cabinet approved a draft of the ordinance curbing religious conversions only for the sake of marriage. This new proposed law provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years and fine of up to Rs 50,000 under different categories.
The preamble to the Act reads, “To provide for prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”
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