Survey indicates need for Love Jihad law: UP Governor

Anandiben Patel in an interview spoke about the new anti-conversion law and crimes against women suggesting that families should keep a watch on their sons and daughters

Anandiben patel

“Whenever a Bill comes, it does not come just like that. There is a survey conducted that shows how many girls married, how many faced problems, how many girls came back, how many girls lodged complaints. Even parents come forward seeking arrests, alleging that the boy changed his name. When such incidents are increasingly reported during a survey, in such a situation such a Bill is brought and is pursued. Women come to me with different issues and if required, I refer issues to the government. But there are not many complaints,” said Governor of Uttar Pradesh Anandiben Patel in an interview to the Indian Express. She was asked about intervening in matters wherein women have spoken up about their choice to wilfully decide their partner and religion. Not revealing much about the survey and statistics, she justified the state government’s law against religious conversion for the sole purpose of marriage.

On matters of security of women, she said, “There are various ills in society, families and individuals. When these ills come out, they lead to such incidents. Then we think that justice is given, proper action is taken. But I would say that it is also the responsibility of the family to handle children. At home, caution should be taken to keep a watch on what sons and daughters are doing outside, whether any untoward incidents might happen.”

Contrary to the survey that discloses the alleged “problems” faced by families and women that the Governor mentioned, the courts have yet not ordered coercive action against any accused person citing lack of evidence and emphasising on the guaranteed fundamental rights of citizens.

The Allahabad High Court, in one instance, stayed the arrest of a man booked under the new Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 in Nadeem v State of UP and ors (CMWP No. 16302 of 2020) observing that, “There is no material before us that any force or coercive process is being adopted by the petitioner to convert the wife of the informant.” In the same case, Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal upheld the Right to Privacy and fundamental right guaranteed under Article 25.

In another instance, the same Bench reunited an interfaith couple after a lower court’s order led to their separation and observed that women are free to move as per their own choice without any restriction or hindrance being created by a third party. Two brothers named Rashid and Salim who were arrested on December 5, soon after they visited the registrar’s office in Moradabad to get Rashid’s marriage to a Hindu woman, were released from jail on December 19 when the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate found no evidence against the two.

Another pathbreaking judgment by the Allahabad High Court was delivered even before the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance was promulgated. The same progressive Bench of Justices Pankaj Naqvi and Vivek Agarwal had ruled in November, 2020 that the right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is intrinsic to right to life and personal liberty and neither any individual nor a family nor even State can have objection to relationship of two major individuals who out of their own free will are living together.

The Division Bench, in this case too, quashed the FIR against the accused primarily on the ground that no offences were made out and that two grown-up individuals decided to live together of their own free will and choice.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up in September 2020, by Inspector General (Kanpur Range) Mohit Agarwal and headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police Vikas Pandey submitted its report in November last year after probing 14 cases of alleged love jihad, dismissing charges against Muslim men. Contrary to the claims of right-wing organisations and the Government officials over increasing instances of Hindu women being lured by Muslim men into marriage in a bid to convert them, the report showed insufficient incriminating evidence.

According to the report, in three of the 14 cases it investigated, the SIT found that police had even filed “closure reports” in some cases after the “Hindu women, had given statements in favour of their Muslim partners” who had been named as the accused. The young women had stated that “either that they had married Muslim men or been with them of their own free will.” Interestingly, while probing the alleged conspiracy angle in other 11 cases, the SIT found that only four of the Muslim youths, against whom cases were lodged, were known to each other. It also ruled out outside funding alleged against Muslim youth.

Besides the discussion on anti-conversion law, Ms. Patel was also asked her opinion by the Indian Express Team on the Farmers’ protests and the new law in the State regarding the recovery of damages to property during anti CAA protests, and posters of the accused that were put up on crossings.

On the issue of farmers she said, “All those farmers who are intelligent…have there been protests in any other part of the country? Only farmers from Punjab are sitting in protest. When a Bill is brought, no one discusses which part is causing the problem. There is simply a demand to withdraw it. One should think with intellect.”

Speaking about the controversial name and shame ordinance passed in Uttar Pradesh, she said that she has not been asked to intervene by any individual for relief. She said, “All those who do wrong never go anywhere. However, if one has not done any wrong and gets the notice then they approach people but no one approached me in this regard.”

Ms. Anandiben Patel, who also has the additional charge of Madhya Pradesh, has completed one and a half years in the Uttar Pradesh office as Governor. The Madhya Pradesh Love Jihad law (Freedom to Religion Bill, 2020) that was cleared by the Cabinet on December 29, is currently tabled before her for assent.



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Allahabad HC protects man booked under UP ‘love jihad’ law

Allahabad HC reunites interfaith couple, provides police protection

UP SIT probe says there is no ‘love jihad’, rules out conspiracy, outside funding

Inter faith unions: Lawlessness widespread in Uttar Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh Cabinet clears ‘Love Jihad’ law!




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