As the debate over "love jihad" continues to grow, the Allahabad High Court on Friday stayed the arrest of a 32-year-old Muslim man booked under the Uttar Pradesh government's controversial anti-conversion law.
Akshay Kumar Tyagi had named Nadeem and his brother Salman in the complaint last month in Muzzafarnagar. Tyagi is a labour contractor in a prominent pharmaceutical company, NDTV reports. Nadeem had been booked under the recently promulgated Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, a law which UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has touted would curb "love jihad".
'Love Jihad' is a conspiracy theory touted by right-wing groups under which they claim Muslim men 'forcibly convert' women of other religions under the 'guise' of love.
According to Tyagi, Nadeem, who works as a labourer, would frequent his house in Muzaffarnagar. He claimed Nadeem had "trapped" his wife Parul in a "net of love" with the aim of converting her. Tyagi also claimed that in an effort to seduce her, he had gifted his wife a smartphone and promised to marry her.
Acting on Nadeem's petition to scrap the First Information Report (FIR), the Allahabad High Court said the police could not take any coercive action against him yet, and granted him protection from arrest until the next date of hearing.
The court said it had been presented with no evidence that showed "any force or coercive process is being adopted" by Nadeem.
"Victim is admittedly an adult who understands her well-being. She as well as the petitioner have a fundamental right to privacy and being grown-up adults who are aware of the consequences of their alleged relationship," the court said, the report states.
Several Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states have moved to make laws against "love jihad" even as the Union Home Ministry has said in February that the term is not specified by law, and that no central agencies had reported any such cases.
Recently, a 22-year-old pregnant woman who was arrested in an alleged case of ‘Love Jihad’ in UP's Moradabad district has alleged torture by the authorities and said that she was administered injections at a district hospital that led to her miscarriage. The young woman named Pinki was three-to-four months pregnant when she was arrested by the Moradabad police under the forced conversion law for marrying a Muslim man.
While she was sent to a shelter home, her husband and brother-in-law were arrested and sent to jail, allegedly after Bajrang Dal workers complained to the police saying that their marriage was a case of 'Love Jihad'. The CJM Court in Moradabad on Monday ordered for her to be sent back to her in-law's place. It also pulled up the cops for sending the woman to shelter home and arresting her husband.