A day after the incident, the man, Rashid, and his brother were booked on Sunday under the new law and sent to jail. Police have turned down the request to share a copy of FIR, saying it will be “available soon”.
The woman, all this while, kept on asserting that she was an adult and married. In one of the videos recorded at Kanth police station, she can be seen showing a copy of the ‘nikahnama’, suggesting that she was already converted and married according to Muslim customs. The woman was also seen showing a copy of an advertisement in a newspaper as evidence that she had also changed her name in keeping with official rules.
The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, nullifies a marriage if it is done for religious conversion. But it is not likely to apply retrospectively — in cases where the religious conversion took place before the law came into force.
Senior police officers refused to comment on it. They said that the FIR against the man and his brother was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by the woman’s mother on Sunday. “We have registered the case on the basis of a complaint filed by the woman’s mother, and also after an initial probe. It is not final. If we get something new, we will act accordingly,” said Vidya Sagar Mishra, additional SP (rural).
“The FIR is registered under section 3 and 5 of the anti-conversion law. The woman’s statement will soon be recorded in court. She is kept at Nari Niketan so that no one influences her,” the police officer said.
Rajesh Kumar, Bajrang Dal leader, said, “We came to know that a man from another community has come with a woman for conversion and registration of marriage. We followed them and informed police for taking action as per new law.”
The woman, unperturbed by the Bajrang Dal men, had told mediapersons on Saturday evening that she got married to Rashid on July 24 in Dehradun.
But she was constantly being shouted down by the men in saffron. “Show us the permission you have from the district magistrate to convert your religion,” one of the men told the woman. While another member of the outfit said, “‘Iska to keval nikah hua hai (She has only been married according to Muslim customs).”
In another video, a Bajrang Dal member was seen snatching a set of files that the woman was handing over to a lady constable. But the constable was quick to take it back and slam the man. Station house officer (SHO) of Kanth police station, Ajay Gautam, told TOI, “We have acted on the complaint given by the girl’s mother.”