Kanpur: In a first case of ‘Love Jihad’, a Kanpur youth has been awarded jail term for 10 years and slapped with a fine of Rs 30,000 under the law. The incident dates back to May 2017 when the youth named Javed allegedly introduced himself to the minor as Munna and promised to marry her, following which the couple eloped. Kanpur has only two such cases registered.
Taking cognizance of the incident, police registered a case and arrested the youth the next day. The girl reportedly told the police that when she reached her husband’s house, he revealed his identity and asked her for a ‘Nikah’ to which she refused. She also accused the youth of raping her.
A case has been registered and the accused has been sent to jail, police said.
Notably, the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, 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 ordinance was replaced by an Act this year.
Depending on the severity of the “crime”, those found guilty can be jailed for up to 10 years. Fines range from Rs 15,000 to 50,000. Interfaith couples who wish to get married must inform the district magistrate two months in advance.
The law provides for one to five years’ imprisonment with a minimum fine of Rs 15,000 for forced conversions, and three to 10 years of jail time for the conversion of minors and women from the SC/ST community. For forceful mass conversions, the jail term is three to 10 years and a Rs 50,000 fine.
According to the law, a marriage shall be declared “null and void” if it is found that the sole intention of wedlock was to convert the woman.
The Uttar Pradesh Police have so far registered a total of 108 cases under the law that criminalises religious conversion by “force, undue influence, coercion, or allurement”.
The largest number of cases in UP have been lodged in Bareilly zone (28), Meerut zone (23), Gorakhpur zone (11), Lucknow zone (nine), and Agra zone (nine). Both Prayagraj and Gautam Buddh Nagar stand at seven each, while Varanasi and Lucknow are at six cases.