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Allahabad HC asks UP cops not to harass couple under anti-conversion law, seeks state govt’s reply


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Chennai:

Lucknow: The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court has intervened in another case of police harassment under the Uttar Pradesh anti-conversion law to provide relief to an inter-faith couple.

The division bench comprising Justice Rituraj Awasthi and Justice Saroj Yadav directed Amethi police not to harass a couple who married three years ago. The court asked the police authorities to stop harassment of the couple in the garb of an FIR lodged by the girl's family against her husband and others on charges of abduction in 2017.

Three years ago, the FIR was filed under Sections 363, 366 of IPC under Kamrauli police station in Amethi.

The court also directed the state government counsel to file a response in connection with the petition filed by wife Chandani and her husband.

The petitioner's lawyer AK Pandey submitted that the petitioners were compelled to approach High Court due to the harassment by the police after the invocation of  UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance -2020.  The petitioner's counsel also claimed that the couple tied the knot three years back out of their own free will and have since been living a peaceful life.

The couple are parents to a one-and-a-half-year-old child as well.

The Uttar Pradesh government had recently filed an affidavit in connection with a case in Allahabad High Court saying that the new the anti-conversion ordinance didn’t target any particular religion and was equally applicable to all forms of forced conversion, not just interfaith marriages.

However, so far total of 86 persons, including 79 Muslims have been booked in 16 first information reports (FIRs) since the promulgation of anti-conversion law on November 28, last year. Fifty-four people were arrested.

All these 79 have been accused of similar offences — allegedly enticing women and forcing her to convert to Islam.

The invocation of the new law has seen a sudden rise in the incidents of harassment by fringe right-wing outfits who tend to intimidate the couples in the name of anti-conversion law.

This had even left the police authorities red-faced in a number of cases where the girls conceded that they had chosen their partner on their free will and no one had forced them to convert.