Gujarat police have registered the first FIR in the state in a case of grooming jihad, under the newly-notified anti-conversion law and detained six people in connection with the case. The Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021, which prohibits forcible religious conversion by marriage, came into force on June 15. The Act provides stringent penal action against any individual or institution for forced religious conversion through marriage.
Based on the FIR, Gotri police station in Vadodara arrested a man from the Tarsali area named Samir Qureshi on Friday. The police have taken action based on a complaint filed by a 24-year-old Dalit woman for blackmailing, forced conversion and rape. According to the police, Qureshi had also hurled casteist abuses at the woman.
The woman alleged that she met the individual in February 2019 on a social media platform where he used a fake identity and lured her into a relationship. Police confirmed that Samir Qureshi had made his social media accounts under a fake name, Sam Martin.
Qureshi persuaded the victim into marriage by promising a ‘modern life’ post marriage. Later, he raped her on four occasions at a hotel as well as in the flat of a co-accused, police said.
The Dalit victim was also verbally abused with casteist slurs
The accused allegedly clicked her intimate pictures without her knowledge and then used those photos to blackmail her to marry him in a “nikah ceremony” and convert to Islam.
The woman, who was under the impression that Qureshi is a Christian, got to know about his faith a year back when a nikah ceremony was organised instead of a Christian wedding, the official said.
The police added that after the marriage, Qureshi first changed the victim’s name and then started forcing her to convert. He also verbally abused the victim with casteist slurs.
Based on her complaint, the police arrested Samir Qureshi and detained six people including his parents, sister, uncle as well as one of his accomplice who facilitated the alleged sexual assaults against the complainant.
Gujarat brings its stringent anti-conversion law into force
It is pertinent to note here, that Gujarat, along the lines of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and a few other states, brought into force the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021 on June 15, after Governor Acharya Devavrata gave his consent to the Bill.
The new anti-conversion law would invite a jail term of five years and a Rs 2 lakh penalty on the forced conversion of young women. In case of a minor girl being converted, the punishment would go up to seven years in jail and a Rs 3 lakh penalty. Also, the religious conversion of women from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe will invite a jail term of seven years. Any marriage done only with the purpose of religious conversion will be declared null and void by the court having jurisdiction under the provisions of the Act.