Threat of ‘Love Jihad’ Law Forces Interfaith Couples to Flee UP

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Officials of the UP Police say they will be able to bring back couples from any place and will not face any jurisdiction hurdles

NEW DELHI — More and more interfaith couples fearing police harassment due to the new anti-conversion law are fleeing Uttar Pradesh to other states for protection.

According to a report in The Times of India, Mohammad Iqbal and Smriti are living at a rented house in Delhi. Smriti was first locked inside her home at Varanasi and then disowned by family for her relationship with the Muslim man. The couple has applied to get married under the special marriage Act.

Similarly Simran, 21, and Mohammad Shamim, 25 are living in Delhi and have been granted protection by the Delhi High Court. They have decided to register their marriage in Delhi.

Mohammad Shadab, 24, who met Anamika in college four years ago, was forced by right-wing activists to apologise to the woman’s parents for their ties.  They didn’t actually break things off. But when the anti-conversion law came, they decided to change the plans and get their marriage registered outside UP. “If required, I will convert to Hinduism. We’ll seek protection from the court,” Shadab told TOI.

In some cases, the Uttar Pradesh Police have been able to bring the woman back to their homes. For instance, a few days ago, the UP Police took a 21-year-old Hindu girl back to her home from Delhi who had eloped from Etah with a Muslim neighbour, Javed.

In another case, a Hindu man, Namaan Madan, and a Muslim woman, Farah, were brought back from Meerut to their home in Barielly after they had eloped to Rishikesh, Utrakhand.

Under the new ordinance promulgated a month ago, conversions just for the sake of marriage is prohibited but critics say that not only is the law against the idea of personal liberty it has been misused to specifically target Muslim men.

Officials of the UP Police say they will be able to bring back couples from any place and will not face any jurisdiction hurdles. However, legal experts say the couples can get away from being hauled up if the High Court of the state where they put up offers protection.


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