Love jihad? Walking home with friend after birthday party, Muslim teen booked under anti-conversion law in UP

The Uttar Pradesh police arrested a Muslim teenager under the controversial anti-conversion law, after he was found walking with a Dalit Hindu girl in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, NDTV reported on Friday.

According to NDTV report, the incident took place on December 15 night, when the girl, a Dalit, and her former classmate, a Muslim, while returning home after attending a friend’s birthday party, were allegedly chased by a group of men. The men beat the two with sticks and forced them to identify themselves. And, when it became apparent that they belonged to different religions, they were reportedly taken to a local police station.

The boy has been accused of forcibly trying to convert the girl. The allegations have been denied by the girl and her mother, according to the report. The boy was subsequently booked under the anti-conversion law and on charges of abduction.

"Around 11.30 pm some people caught hold of us and thrashed us. They accused us of theft. They caught one boy, I don't know who he was, and they caught me. I did not know who the boy was. It is not true that he was trying to convert me," the report quoted the girl as saying.

The girl's mother also backed her claim saying she was returning from a birthday party. The boy told her that he would drop her home.

The police claimed that a first information report (FIR) was filed in Dhampur on a complaint by the girl’s father. The report stated that the girl's father alleged that the boy tried to persuade the girl to elope and force her to convert.

Meanwhile, the Bijnor police claimed the girl was kidnapped by the accused but she 'managed to escape' from his custody.

"A girl had been missing for a few days, she has been found and a case filed. The boy had given a Hindu name, Sonu, and had coaxed her to run away for the purpose of converting. She somehow managed to escape. The accused has been arrested," said Sanjay Kumar, a senior police officer in Bijnor told NDTV.

Earlier in November, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel had promulgated the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020. The new law mandates a jail term of the accused between one to five years with Rs 15,000 penalty, if convicted for carrying out forceful conversions for marriage.

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