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Inter faith unions: Lawlessness widespread in Uttar Pradesh

A lawyer who helped an inter faith couple to get married, has now alleged harassment by the UP Police. The conduct of the Police starkly juxtaposes with what constitutional courts have opined.

Sabrangindia 22 Dec 2020

UP Police
Representation Image

An advocate, Mohammad Hashim Ansari assisted a young Hindu woman to voluntarily convert to Islam and marry a Muslim man in November. Now, he alleges that both he and  his family is facing harassment at the hands of Uttar Pradesh Police, as reported by The Wire.

Hashim Ansari helpedfile an affidavit for the woman to help her legally convert, which was later signed and attested by her declaring that she has consciously and voluntarily converted to Islam and is under no pressure. Ansari told The Wire that, “She was so interested in Islam that while doing the rituals in front of the Qazi, she wrote the kalima on her own, without any help or assistance from anybody else.”

Hashim Ansari also helped the couple with all legalities regarding their marriage and their affidavit reads, “I fell in love with one Mohd. Javed Ansari … whom I love from my heart.” She also wrote that she was getting married to him without any pressure, coercion or undue influence. She attested that she has converted to “Muslim religion…with my free will and consent without any force, pressure, coercion from any corner, and without consuming any intoxicating substance.”

Advocate Hashim’s kin including the male members of his family- father, father-in-law, brother, three brother-in laws, cousin, cousin’s friend were taken to undisclosed locations and held hostage over two days. He told The Wire, “They think that I am hiding the woman, and are telling me to produce her as if I know where she is.” The latest arrests – of his father and elder brother – happened today morning. (December 22).

Hashim could manage to have a word with his brother who told him that he was asked if he knows Hashim Ansari, and when he said that he did, he was held by the police. Later, he received a message from his brother-in-law saying, “We are being sent to jail. You please handover the Hindu girl to the police, otherwise we will be sent to jail by this evening.”

The couple who lived peacefully till December 17 after their wedding, also proved ephemeral as the groom’s sister-in-law was detained by the Police. The Bajrang Dal members, who have been pursuing the cause of “rescuing” girls from going astray, also forced the groom Javed’s relatives to shut their shops in Jalesar (Uttar Pradesh) due to fear.

On December 17, as the new bride’s father registered a case against his son-in-law at Jalesar police station under Section 366 (abduction of a woman for marriage) of the IPC, and sub clause 1 of sections 3 and 5 of the new Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, Hashim (through the woman), wrote an application to the SSP and the SHO Jalesar, saying that she has voluntarily married Javed and his family members should not be harassed because of this.

It reads, “My clientess is a major and educated lady and possesses sound mind and is not prone with any disease, and therefore, is competent to convey her life as per her choice and will and without any interruption from any side. It has come to the notice of my clientess by a reliable source that some miscreants from the RSS and Bajrang Dal are creating nuisance in Jalesar and they have closed the shops of relatives of husband of my clientess… that my clientess and her husband have not committed any offence and that our constitution gives us right and power and personal liberty to convey their life as per their choices and will.”

But the Police is determined to investigate as a case has been registered by the woman’s father. “Now it will be sorted out in court only”, said Krishan Pal Singh, SHO Jalesar police station. In the latest development, as The Wire has reported, the couple is missing. On December 21, Hashim tried to reconnect with them as their writ petition for protection was ready and needed their statements but has been unable to get in touch with them.

He said, “The girl kept telling me that she will be shot, or killed in some other way.” According to media reports, this was the tenth case registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police under the Ordinance and even a month has not passed since its promulgation. The Moradabad District Court recently released two Muslim brothers (Rashid Ali and Saleem) after having no material evidence on record to prosecute them. In the process of this traumatic experience, Pinki (Rashid’s 22-year-old wife) also suffered a miscarriage.

High Courts, the constitutional watchdogs

Courts, across the country have however been the saving grace in such volatile circumstances holding on to the constitutional values. A couple from Uttar Pradesh, who had moved the Delhi High Court sought and received protection fearing threats, intimidation and acute harassment at the hands of vigilante groups, vested interests and even the authorities.

The Bench of Justice Anu Malhotra was hearing a petition filed by a 21-year-old Hindu woman and a 25-year-old Muslim man from Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh who fled to Delhi apprehending embroilment in a false case. The court directed the State of Delhi to provide adequate protection to the couple and also provide a safe house to them with adequate arrangements for their accommodation. The order may be read at the end.

A two Judge Bench of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee at the Calcutta High Court have also held that it “cannot intervene if an adult marries as per her choice and decides to convert and not return to her paternal house.” In this case, a 19-year-old girl married on her own volition and since the father’s suspicions could not be laid to rest, the girl was asked to record her statement before the senior-most Additional District Judge again. But her statement remained unchanged. The entire story may be read here.

The Allahabad High Court’s order too assumes relevance as it protected a man from arbitrary arrest under the new anti-conversion ordinance, significantly noting that the FIR against the man was registered on mere suspicion and that the woman was an adult who could make sound decisions about her own personal life. The court also upheld the Fundamental Right to Privacy and Freedom of Religion enshrined in the Constitution.   

The Delhi HC order may be read here:

 

Related:

Allahabad HC protects man booked under UP 'love jihad' law

They tortured me, gave me injections, I fear I have miscarried: Pinki, victim of anti 'Love Jihad' law

Cannot intervene if adult marries as per choice and converts: Cal HC

Inter faith unions: Lawlessness widespread in Uttar Pradesh

A lawyer who helped an inter faith couple to get married, has now alleged harassment by the UP Police. The conduct of the Police starkly juxtaposes with what constitutional courts have opined.

UP Police
Representation Image

An advocate, Mohammad Hashim Ansari assisted a young Hindu woman to voluntarily convert to Islam and marry a Muslim man in November. Now, he alleges that both he and  his family is facing harassment at the hands of Uttar Pradesh Police, as reported by The Wire.

Hashim Ansari helpedfile an affidavit for the woman to help her legally convert, which was later signed and attested by her declaring that she has consciously and voluntarily converted to Islam and is under no pressure. Ansari told The Wire that, “She was so interested in Islam that while doing the rituals in front of the Qazi, she wrote the kalima on her own, without any help or assistance from anybody else.”

Hashim Ansari also helped the couple with all legalities regarding their marriage and their affidavit reads, “I fell in love with one Mohd. Javed Ansari … whom I love from my heart.” She also wrote that she was getting married to him without any pressure, coercion or undue influence. She attested that she has converted to “Muslim religion…with my free will and consent without any force, pressure, coercion from any corner, and without consuming any intoxicating substance.”

Advocate Hashim’s kin including the male members of his family- father, father-in-law, brother, three brother-in laws, cousin, cousin’s friend were taken to undisclosed locations and held hostage over two days. He told The Wire, “They think that I am hiding the woman, and are telling me to produce her as if I know where she is.” The latest arrests – of his father and elder brother – happened today morning. (December 22).

Hashim could manage to have a word with his brother who told him that he was asked if he knows Hashim Ansari, and when he said that he did, he was held by the police. Later, he received a message from his brother-in-law saying, “We are being sent to jail. You please handover the Hindu girl to the police, otherwise we will be sent to jail by this evening.”

The couple who lived peacefully till December 17 after their wedding, also proved ephemeral as the groom’s sister-in-law was detained by the Police. The Bajrang Dal members, who have been pursuing the cause of “rescuing” girls from going astray, also forced the groom Javed’s relatives to shut their shops in Jalesar (Uttar Pradesh) due to fear.

On December 17, as the new bride’s father registered a case against his son-in-law at Jalesar police station under Section 366 (abduction of a woman for marriage) of the IPC, and sub clause 1 of sections 3 and 5 of the new Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, Hashim (through the woman), wrote an application to the SSP and the SHO Jalesar, saying that she has voluntarily married Javed and his family members should not be harassed because of this.

It reads, “My clientess is a major and educated lady and possesses sound mind and is not prone with any disease, and therefore, is competent to convey her life as per her choice and will and without any interruption from any side. It has come to the notice of my clientess by a reliable source that some miscreants from the RSS and Bajrang Dal are creating nuisance in Jalesar and they have closed the shops of relatives of husband of my clientess… that my clientess and her husband have not committed any offence and that our constitution gives us right and power and personal liberty to convey their life as per their choices and will.”

But the Police is determined to investigate as a case has been registered by the woman’s father. “Now it will be sorted out in court only”, said Krishan Pal Singh, SHO Jalesar police station. In the latest development, as The Wire has reported, the couple is missing. On December 21, Hashim tried to reconnect with them as their writ petition for protection was ready and needed their statements but has been unable to get in touch with them.

He said, “The girl kept telling me that she will be shot, or killed in some other way.” According to media reports, this was the tenth case registered by the Uttar Pradesh Police under the Ordinance and even a month has not passed since its promulgation. The Moradabad District Court recently released two Muslim brothers (Rashid Ali and Saleem) after having no material evidence on record to prosecute them. In the process of this traumatic experience, Pinki (Rashid’s 22-year-old wife) also suffered a miscarriage.

High Courts, the constitutional watchdogs

Courts, across the country have however been the saving grace in such volatile circumstances holding on to the constitutional values. A couple from Uttar Pradesh, who had moved the Delhi High Court sought and received protection fearing threats, intimidation and acute harassment at the hands of vigilante groups, vested interests and even the authorities.

The Bench of Justice Anu Malhotra was hearing a petition filed by a 21-year-old Hindu woman and a 25-year-old Muslim man from Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh who fled to Delhi apprehending embroilment in a false case. The court directed the State of Delhi to provide adequate protection to the couple and also provide a safe house to them with adequate arrangements for their accommodation. The order may be read at the end.

A two Judge Bench of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee at the Calcutta High Court have also held that it “cannot intervene if an adult marries as per her choice and decides to convert and not return to her paternal house.” In this case, a 19-year-old girl married on her own volition and since the father’s suspicions could not be laid to rest, the girl was asked to record her statement before the senior-most Additional District Judge again. But her statement remained unchanged. The entire story may be read here.

The Allahabad High Court’s order too assumes relevance as it protected a man from arbitrary arrest under the new anti-conversion ordinance, significantly noting that the FIR against the man was registered on mere suspicion and that the woman was an adult who could make sound decisions about her own personal life. The court also upheld the Fundamental Right to Privacy and Freedom of Religion enshrined in the Constitution.   

The Delhi HC order may be read here:

 

Related:

Allahabad HC protects man booked under UP 'love jihad' law

They tortured me, gave me injections, I fear I have miscarried: Pinki, victim of anti 'Love Jihad' law

Cannot intervene if adult marries as per choice and converts: Cal HC

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