The Uttarakhand High Court has granted protection to a couple after a Muslim woman in Uttarakhand who converted to Hinduism to marry a Hindu man had approached the court fearing that her brother might physically harm them for marrying out of faith.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s rulings in Lata Singh v. State of UP and S Khushboo vs. Kanniammal cases, the Bench of Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and Ravindra Maithani directed the police to give the couple protection as an interim measure.
It Bench clarified that their observation was based merely on the complaint of the couple about the likely threat from the woman’s family and it was not commenting on the inter-caste marriage or the earlier conversion of the woman from Muslim to Hindu, which the bench said was “as it is prima facie in violation of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018.”
Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018
As per Section 6 of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, marriages done for the sole purpose of conversion are deemed null and void. Moreover, Section 8 of the Act penalises religious conversion without a month’s prior notice to the concerned District Magistrate.
Taking into account the provisions of the anti-conversion Act prevalent in Uttarakhand, the court questioned the couple why they did not seek permission from the District Magistrate. However, the petitioners asserted that they had moved an application (as required under Section 8), but that no decision has yet been taken on it.
Since the court observed that the couple appeared “articulate”, it ordered the District Magistrate at Haridwar to inquire why the application moved by the woman for conversion has not been processed. The court further observed that in case the application has been processed, it needed to be informed of when it was processed.
The court will next taken up the matter for hearing in March 2021.
One Muslim man receives death threats from his own community for embracing Hinduism
Yesterday we reported how one Muslim man by the name of Qasim Khan had been receiving death threats from his own community members after he willingly left Islam and embraced Hinduism.
Eight years after his marriage, he voluntarily decided to convert to Hinduism. “No one forced me. I took this decision on my own,” Qasim emphasised. After embracing Hinduism, he has adopted the name of Karamveer Singh.