A man was arrested under Uttar Pradesh's new anti-conversion law in Shahjahanpur district on Saturday for allegedly coercing a woman into changing her religion and forcibly marrying her, police said. The accused, Mohammad Saeed, had concealed his identity and introduced himself to the woman as Sunil Kumar, they said.
Saeed allegedly sexually exploited the 45-year-old woman and pressured her to change her religion on December 10. When she refused, he forced her to sign a 'nikahnama' (marriage contract), Additional Superintendent of Police (City) Sanjay Kumar said. Vishwa Hindu Parishad office bearer Rajesh Awasthi reached the police station along with the woman and lodged a complaint against 12 people, including the qazi who solemnised the marriage, police said.
A case was registered against them under the new anti-conversion law on Friday, police said, adding Saeed was arrested on Saturday morning. The additional SP said this is the first arrest under the new law in the district.
"The accused raped the woman at gun-point, and then clicked her photos. He also threatened to make the photos viral on social media. Later, Saeed's family members also came here and started staying," he said. The woman has been sent for medical examination and efforts are on to nab the other accused, police said.
The recently promulgated Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 nullifies marriages if they are carried out for the sole purpose of religious conversion.