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First arrest under UP’s new law against Grooming Jihad, Uwais Ahmed was absconding fearing ‘encounter’

Ahmed was arrested from the Richha railway gate in the Bahedi area on Wednesday. He was produced before a local court and was sent to 14 days judicial custody.

In a first, the Uttar Pradesh police have arrested Uwais Ahmed, the accused who was absconding ever-since a case was registered against him, for trying to forcibly convert a Hindu girl to Islam. This is the first arrest made by the UP government in the newly promulgated law against Grooming Jihad (Love Jihad). This is the first Grooming Jihad case, under the new anti-conversion law, registered by the Uttar Pradesh police on November 28.

Bareilly police took to its official Twitter handle to give details of the arrest. Uwais has been absconding since November 29.

Ahmed was arrested from the Richha railway gate in the Bahedi area on Wednesday. He was produced before a local court and was sent to 14 days judicial custody,” Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Bareilly, Rajesh Kumar Pandey said.

Additional Superintendent of Police (Rural) Sansar Singh said on December 3: “A young woman living in Sharif Nagar falling under the Deorania Thana limits had alleged that the accused was harassing her for the last three years and has been pressurizing her to convert to Islam”.

According to reports, the accused has been hiding for many days. He has now confessed that he had been absconding since he feared arrest and believed that he would be killed in a police encounter. Speaking on the same, Additional Superintendent of Police (Rural) Sansar Singh said:  “This may have been his perception, but the police never intended to do so as he is not a history-sheeter.” He further said, ‘We were just looking for him and for this many teams were also deployed in neighbouring districts.

Speaking to reporters, the accused said that he had been arrested under the new anti-conversion law. He claimed that he was innocent and had nothing to do with the victim. He said that he had got married a year ago.

First case registered in the newly promulgated law against Grooming Jihad (Love Jihad)

A case was registered against Ahmed after victim’s father one Tikaram, living in Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh, lodged a complaint with the Deorania police on November 28. The accused was booked under IPC sections 503 and 504 and Section 3/5 of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020. Ever since the case was lodged against him, Ahmed had been absconding.

As per reports, the accused tried to lure the victim. Ahmed began to persuade her to convert to Islam. When she refused, he began to pressurise the victim and her family. Besides intimidation, he had also threatened to kill the victim and her family for refusal to give in to his demands for conversion. The Deorania police had been making all possible efforts to nab the accused.

According to the complaint, Tikaram’s daughter and Ahmed studied together in Class 12. Three years ago, the accused started pressuring her to undergo religious conversion and perform ‘nikah‘ (marriage) with him. But when the woman opposed, he threatened to kidnap her, Tikaram has said in his complaint. The complainant’s daughter married someone else in June. However, Ahmed continued to harass her and her family members and threatened them after they refused to yield to his demands.

Yogi Adityanath govt brings in law against Grooming Jihad

This arrest came days after the Yogi Aditynath government cleared the draft ordinance against unlawful religious conversions, the Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel also gave her assent to the ordinance last week. Soon after the approval by the Governor, the ordinance has come into force in the state.

Provisions of the new law

The new anti-conversion law is aimed at preventing forced conversions under the pretext of love and marriage. “There were more than 100 incidents reported in which forceful religious conversion was being done. Also, it was reported that religious conversions were going on in the state using deceitful means. So to make a law on this becomes an important matter of policy now,” UP Cabinet Minister Siddharth Nath Singh had earlier remarked.

Under the new law, a jail term of 1-5 years is awarded to the accused (extended to 3-10 years in case of SC/STs) and a fine of ₹15,000 (₹25,000 in case of SC/STs). Moreover, the offender’s proven guilty for mass conversion will attract a jail term of 10 years.

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