“…..some religio-political groups intervened in the matter and communalized the issue (by) bringing in the angle of “Love Jihad”. Also, on account of the overzealousness of the police officers involved, facts and offences which were never mentioned or alleged by her came to be inserted in the FIR,” says a Dalit girl who married a Muslim boy.
Zillur Rahman Haider
NEW DELHI—A Dalit girl in Gujarat, who married a Muslim boy in February this year, is facing a strange situation.
While the girl and her parents say that there was no forcible conversion of religion, the state government is pressing that it is a case of forced conversion, or what is termed as “love jihad” by radical Hindus.
The girl has now approached the Gujarat high court, seeking quashing of the charges against her husband, in-laws, and the ‘qazi’ who performed the ‘nikah’. The high court has issued a notice, asking the state government to give reasons why it is opposing the dropping of charges in the case and quashing of the FIR.
The girl, who appeared in person before the court, submitted that the charges against her husband and others were false.
She said that when a petty matrimonial dispute arose between her and her husband, she lodged a complaint under Section 498A of IPC that pertains to cruelty to a woman by her husband and in-laws.
However, the police subsequently converted it into a case of “love Jihad”, or forcible conversion of religion under provisions of the Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021. She told the court that the police added the charges of forcible conversion on their own which she had never mentioned in her complaint.
The police publicized it as the first case of “Love Jihad” after the passage of the Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021, in June this year.
Woman’s problems began after this.
“At this stage, some religio-political groups intervened in the matter and communalized the issue (by) bringing in the angle of “Love Jihad”, she told the high court before which she appeared in person.
“Also, on account of the overzealousness of the police officers involved, facts and offences which were never mentioned or alleged by her came to be inserted in the FIR,” she stated in her petition before the court.
Stating that “the FIR is false, frivolous, vexatious and amounting to gross misuse and abuse of process of law”, the woman submitted that the FIR contains “completely incorrect and untrue facts with respect to forcible sexual intercourse with extremely personal details and reference to oral and anal intercourse and taking obscene photographs of the woman.”
She said that neither her husband nor any of his family members made any “casteist slurs” against her but the FIR has incorporated their allegations falsely.
She stated that while the police have invoked rape charges, the complaint was registered by a male officer while the FIR should be registered by a female officer only in such a case.
She alleged that while she filed the FIR on June 17, 2021, the police added sections of the stringent Freedom of Religion Act on June 19, 2021, and it was also allowed by a Vadodara court despite the fact that she never alleged that she was forcibly converted to Islam.
Police subsequently arrested her husband and the latter’s relatives as also the ‘qazi’ on charges of forcible conversion.
The woman and her mother on June 24 filed a joint affidavit, stating that her husband had not committed the offences as mentioned in the FIR. The woman stated that if her husband and the latter’s relatives were not enlarged on bail, it would result in the derailment of her marriage. She also stated that she had resolved the issue with her husband and they wanted to live together as a married couple.
But the police said that the affidavit had been obtained under “force, coercion and threat” and opposed the grant of bail to the woman’s husband and others.
She subsequently moved to the high court.