New Delhi: An apparently consensual interfaith wedding was stopped by members of the Karni Sena who called it a case of ‘love jihad’ at a local court in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district, according to an Indian Express report.
‘Love jihad’ is an imagined conspiracy that is pushed by right wing groups, who claim that Muslim women marry Hindu women only for the purpose of converting them to Islam. Several states, including Uttar Pradesh, have passed laws that are ostensibly against forced religious conversion but have frequently been used to target consensual interfaith couples.
According to the Indian Express report, the Karni Sena members, after stopping the wedding, forced the woman to go the Kotwali police station. The newspaper said that the 18-year-old woman was “handed over” to her parents until she gives a statement in court.
The incident took place on Wednesday.
Ballia’s superintendent of police Vipin Tada said that a case had been registered on the basis of a complaint from the woman’s father, who said she had been “kidnapped”.
“We will present her in a court soon, where she will record her statement. Further action will be taken based on her statement, as the woman is an adult,” he told the Indian Express.
The SP, however, denied claims of illegal conversion.
Crucially, the Indian Express said that in a video that has been shared on social media, the woman can be heard saying, even as she is heckled by alleged members of the Karni Sena, that she is getting married willingly.
The man she was supposed to get married to, Dilshad Siddiqui, was also “questioned and threatened”.
Gyaneshwar Mishra, the station house officer of the Ubhaon police station, where the case against Siddiqui was lodged, told the media that the woman’s father Jai Prakash “alleged in his complaint that his daughter had not returned home for two days and that he had heard some people, including Siddiqui, had coerced her and were getting her married”.