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Communalism

UP: Hindu Yuva Vahini Stops Interfaith Marriage; Police Charges Man Under Anti-Conversion Law

The couple had gone to the district court office to legally register their marriage, but were allegedly accosted outside by members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini.

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New Delhi: Days after members of the right-wind Hindu Yuva Vahini forcibly stopped the marriage of an interfaith couple in Moradabad, an FIR has been registered against the man under Uttar Pradesh’s controversial anti-conversion law. He has also been charged with allegedly kidnapping the woman from Ludhiana, the Indian Express reported.

“We have lodged an FIR against the man under IPC sections 363 (punishment for kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage) and sections 3-5 of the UP Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021. The man has been allowed to live with his family while we are investigating the case, and the woman has been handed over to her family. We will take suitable legal action once our inquiry is completed,” Sagar Jain, Deputy SP, Civil Lines, Moradabad, told the newspaper.

The couple had gone to the district court office on Monday to legally register their marriage, but were allegedly accosted outside by members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini. They accused the man of ‘love jihad’ – a bogey used often in recent years by the Hindu right to harass interfaith couples and particularly Muslim men – and handed the couple over to the police while shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans, Indian Express reported.

“The couple were trying to register their marriage in the court. We got to know that they belong to different religions and informed the woman’s parents and also the Ludhiana police since a missing complaint had been lodged at a police station there by her family,” said Jain.

The woman has reportedly been “handed over” to her parents in Ludhiana.

The man, from Moradabad, had worked for a while in Moradabad, which is where the two had fallen in love. They reportedly eloped on April 14.

The controversial anti-conversion law has been used multiple times in the recent past to stop consenting interfaith couples from being together and getting married. Right-wing Hindu vigilantes have been at the forefront of disrupting these marriages, and several Muslim men have faced jail time even when their partners have made clear that they consent to the relationship and were not forced to convert.

In the present case too, it is not clear if there was any conversion taking place during the interfaith marriage.