Police here arrested eight people on the charge of forcible conversion of a 21-year-old girl and then conducting her marriage, according to a statement on Tuesday. In Azamgarh, three other people were arrested under the state’s anti-conversion law.
According to the Etah police statement, the eight accused, including a woman, were arrested from near the Agra crossing. On November 17, the girl’s father had told police that his 21-year-old daughter had gone to the market to buy some items but did not return home, police said. The complainant subsequently came to know that the eight people abducted her for marriage and forcible conversion, police added.
Those arrested have been identified as are Ramjani, a resident of Etah; Aamreen, a resident of Aligarh; Mahmood Ali, Mahfooz Ali, Haidar Ali, Antar Hussain, Ansar Hussain and Shahid Hussain, all residents of Kasganj. In Azamgarh, those arrested have been identified as Balchandra, Gopal Prajapati and Neeraj Kumar. They were arrested from Deeh Kauthaul village on Sunday, Deedargaj Station House Officer Sanay Kumar Singh said.
The three men came to the village and allegedly organised a meeting at Tribhuvan Yadav’s home to convert people to Christianity, the police officer said. A villager, Ashok Yadav, informed police, following which the arrests were made under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, he said.
The ordinance mainly envisages that no person shall convert, either directly or indirectly from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage nor shall any person abet, convince or conspire such conversion. The onus to prove that the conversion has not been done forcibly will lie on the person accused of the act and the convert, it said.