New Delhi: Pinki, a woman who was forced to go to a shelter at home because she was in an interfaith marriage and whose husband was arrested by police, told a court she was an adult, married of her own free will and wanted to go back with her husband’s family rather than stay in the shelter home. According to the Indian Express, the court allowed her to do so. Her husband, Rashid Ali, is still in prison.
Pinki and Rashid were married five months ago. On December 5, they went to a marriage registration office in Moradabad to register the marriage. After they were stopped by Bajrang Dal activists who took them to the local police station. Rashid and his brother, who accompanied the couple, were arrested.
“I’m an adult, I’m 22 years old. I got married of my own free will on July 24th. This is the fifth month we have been married, “the woman told members of Bajrang Dal, seen in a video that went viral. However, the men continued to talk about the controversial new” counter-conversion “of Uttar Pradesh that was already being used for harassing several interfaith couples.
Police said Pinki, three months pregnant, has no proof of marriage, and her parents complained that Rashid forced her to convert. In her statement to the magistrate, Pinki reiterated this and said she was born in 1998, and so grew up.
While at home to the shelter, Pinki complained of abdominal pain and was taken twice to a hospital. The doctors said she was being observed and that the fetus was doing well.
Moradabad police have said they will seek legal advice on whether Pinki’s statement that she and Rashid were married long before the new law came into force changes the case against Rashid and his brother. “All the details, including Nikah’s claim and Pinki’s conversion, would be confirmed. Documents related to the claim would be verified. The police will also receive a statement from the girl’s family members and others, ”said Moradabad Supreme Inspector of Police Prabhakar Chaudhary, Indian Express.
The case against Rashid was the fifth to be filed in Uttar Pradesh since the anti-conversion ordinance became law a week ago. Prior to that, a 21-year-old man was arrested in Bareilly under the love jihad legislation, while seven people were arrested and eight booked in Sitapur, while 14 people were booked in Mau and two accused in Muzaffarnagar.
In recent weeks, BJP-administered states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have unveiled plans to enact laws to oppose “love jihad” – a term coined by Sangh parivar costumes to describe an imaginary Islamic conspiracy to convert unsuspecting Hindu women to Islam.
Uttar Pradesh, which has a significant Muslim population, first approved a ordinance or executive order to deal with “loving jihad”. According to the prescription, marriage will be declared null and void if a woman converts into a religion solely for marriage. Those who wish to change their religion after their marriage must apply to the district magistrate within one month.
The state cabinet approved the ordinance although on 11 November the Allahabad high court denounced a one-judge bench trial, which Prime Minister Yogi Adityanath openly cited as proof that his crusade against “love jihad” has merit.
The BJP-led government in Madhya Pradesh has also said it is offering a ten-year prison sentence for anyone found guilty of using marriage to force someone to change religion.