UP registers first case under new anti-conversion law

The case has been registered by a resident in Bareilly accusing a man of his village of trying to convert his daughter through 'allurement'

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The new provisions stipulate that those wanting to change their religion will have to notify the district officials two months in advance. | Representative Photo: iStock

Based on a complaint from the father of a young woman in Bareilly district, the Uttar Pradesh police have registered on Saturday (November 28) the first case in the state under the new anti-conversion law, officials said. The case was registered at the Devarniyan police station.

In a statement issued in Lucknow on Sunday (November 29) , additional chief secretary (home) Awanish Awasthi said a case was registered by Tikaram, a resident of Sharif Nagar village under Devarniyan police station (in Bareilly), who accused a man — Uvaish Ahmed — of the same village of trying to convert his daughter through “allurement” (bahla-phuslaakar).

The case was registered against Uvaish Ahmed under the IPC and the new anti-conversion law. Senior superintendent of police Rohit Singh Sajwan said four police teams have been formed to arrest the accused.

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According to the complaint, Tikaram’s daughter and Ahmed studied together in class 12.

Three years ago, the accused started exerting pressure on her to undergo religious conversion and perform “nikaah” (marriage). But when the woman opposed, he threatened to kidnap her, Tikaram alleged.

Tikaram got his daughter married to someone else in June. However, Ahmed continued to harass her family members, the complaint said.

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Ahmed went to Tikaram’s house on Saturday and asked him to bring his daughter back from her in-laws’ house. Threatening her family, the accused said the woman will have to undergo religious conversion and marry him, according to the complaint. Tikaram then  approached police and a case was registered against the accused.

On Saturday, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel gave assent to an ordinance against forcible or fraudulent religious conversions that provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of ₹ 50,000 under different categories.

The promulgation of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, came four days after the Yogi Adityanath government approved the draft of the legislation, which also curbs religious conversions only for the sake of marriage.

Under the law which deals with different categories of offences, a marriage will be declared “null and void” if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose, and those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to apply to the district magistrate.

The ordinance mainly envisages that no person shall convert, either directly or indirectly, from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage nor shall any person abet, convince or conspire such conversion.

(With inputs from PTI)

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