In a recent instance of Uttar Pradesh’s controversial new anti-conversion law, the state police has on Tuesday interrupted and stopped a Muslim couple from getting married, based on rumors of ‘love jihad’.
According to the officials, the police in Kushinagar had reportedly received a phone call stating that an inter-faith marriage was going to take place. The person over the phone contended that a Hindu woman was being converted to Islam for the wedding, which was enough reason for the police to take action and they decided to stop the wedding.
As per sources, the groom, a 39-year-old Haider Ali, who lost his first wife 10 years ago and works as a barber in Azamgarh has alleged that the police beat him and tortured him while they kept him in the custody overnight.
“On Tuesday afternoon, Shabeela Khatoon (28) and I got married,” Ali told the sources. “After the ceremony, a small party was on when a police team arrived and said there had been no nikah. They wouldn’t listen to anything and took us to the police station around 7.30 pm. There they let the cleric go after he changed his statement and said the nikah wasn’t final yet,” he added.
At the police station, Shabeela was sent to a different room before he was beaten with a belt. “One of the policemen asked another to skin me. I tried to talk to them. When Shabeela heard me crying, she panicked. The policemen asked her about her family but she was scared. Only around 9 pm could I convince her to tell the police her brother’s number,” stated Ali.
The police then called Shabeela’s family, who confirmed that she was a Muslim and even sent a photo of her Aadhaar card. “The police personnel was polite after that, but still did not let us go. They said they would wait for her brother to arrive. I was kept in the verandah in the cold,” stated Ali.
Meanwhile, Circle Officer Piyush Kant Rai said that the bride’s family had lodged a missing person’s report at Mubarakpur Police Station in Azamgarh after she left home on December 4. “The two knew each other for the last around one-and-a-half years,” he said. The police received the information from a few locals of the village who said they had heard that a ‘love jihad’ marriage was going to take place, Rai added.
However, Rai said that the act of spreading such dangerous misinformation “did not amount to criminal charges” and that their swift action was due to the “tense atmosphere”.
On the other hand, the police denied the allegations of violence against Ali while Kushinagar SP Vinod Kumar Singh informed the sources that “It was not like the couple was brought to the police station in secret. Also, the matter was soon sorted. There was no reason to beat up anyone.”
Kasya Police Station SHO Sanjay Kumar informed the sources that “miscreants” were to blame, and that the couple was set free after the police realized that they were from the same religion.
Thereafter, the couple was finally able to get married on Wednesday, after the woman’s brother arrived and made clear that the family had no objection to the marriage.