The bride, a Hindu, claims she is an adult and married of free will.
The police in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh arrested a Muslim youth along with his brother while he was allegedly in the process of getting his marriage registered to a Hindu girl from Bijnore whom he had consensually ‘married’ five months ago.
The youth and the girl who arrived at the marriage registration office in Kanth were handed over to the police by members of a right-wing outfit who intervened and prevented them from completing the process.
The girl, however, said she was with the Muslim boy with her consent and that the two had married on July 24 in Dehradun.
“I got married willingly. I am an adult, aged 22,” the girl told journalists, adding that the two had been friends for two years.
The two had been staying in Kanth, to which the boy belongs, since the last four-five months, she said.
It is not clear if the girl or the boy converted or were planning to do so.
The Muslim youth and his brother were booked under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020. The case in Moradabad becomes the fifth such case lodged in U.P. under the new ordinance. After a 21-year-old man was arrested in Bareilly, seven were arrested and eight booked in Sitapur, 14 booked in Mau and two charged in Muzaffarnagar.
While members of the Bajrang Dal took credit for the intervention, police claimed they acted on information provided by the family of the girl.
The FIR was lodged under Sections 3 and 5 of the new ordinance against unlawful conversion, Ajay Gautam, station house officer Kanth, told The Hindu.
Complaint by girl’s mother
The FIR was lodged on the complaint of the girl’s mother. In her complaint, the mother alleged that the boy induced her daughter into a marriage and converted her under the garb of getting her a job, said the officer.
When pointed to the SHO that the girl was consensually registering her marriage to the Muslim boy, Mr. Gautam said “all things will come out during probe.”
“The girl will get an opportunity to say what she wants in court,” the officer said.
Members of the Bajrang Dal who spoke to the local media said they reached the Kanth tehsil office after inputs that a Hindu woman from Dehradun had come to Kanth with a Muslim boy for conversion and court marriage.
“When I arrived with my workers, they (the couple) had left the tehsil premises. We chased them and caught hold of them them near a Ravidas temple,” said Bajrang Dal leader Rakesh Kumar.