UP’s ‘love jihad’ law partisan towards Muslim women? Police refuses to take cognisance of cases involving them
UP Police has registered six cases in the last seven days when Hindu women were allegedly lured into ‘forcible’ marriages or deceived, but it ignored similar cases where Muslim women were involved
Yogi Government’s much-hyped ‘Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2020’, popularly referred to as ‘love jihad’ law, is marred by religious favouritism. UP Police has registered six cases in the last seven days when Hindu women were allegedly lured into ‘forcible’ marriages or deceived, but it ignored similar cases where Muslim women were involved.
“The law is partisan towards Muslim girls. Any legislation cannot be viewed under a religious lens. The law should hold true for Hindu and Muslim girls alike. But unfortunately, this is not the case with Muslim girls who too could be deceived by Hindu men and forced to convert from their religion,” Madhu Garg, state president of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) said.
Garg gives example of two Muslim women who are running from pillar to post to get people arrested under the new law for being deceived into getting married.
Shakeela aka Soni, 22, who hails from Kushinagar, married one Suresh Yadav in Lucknow in 2013 in a temple. They stayed in a rented accommodation in Lucknow. Shakeela changed her religion after marriage and became Soni. In early 2017, she came to know that Suresh Yadav was already married and had children too.
Soni says she was sexually exploited and tortured. Suresh threatened her with dire consequences if the matter was reported to the police or anyone else. He has now abandoned her and their two-year-old son.
Another case is of Ruqaiyya Bano, 35, who married one Yashwardhan Srivastava in 2017 in an Arya Samaj temple. She got converted to Hinduism and was renamed as Muskan. Later, her husband refused to have anything to do with her and even denied that they had got married, despite the fact that she has pictures of the marriage and a certificate from the temple to prove that she got married to him.
“My parents say I’m a Hindu while my in-laws say I am Muslim. I am fighting to prove who I am – Ruqaiyya Bano or Muskan Srivastava,” she said.
The AIDWA, which has taken up the case of these two Muslim women, want the police to register cases under the new law against the culprits and arrest them as is being done in other cases where Muslim men and Hindu women are concerned.
“If there is a law, it holds true for both Hindus and Muslims. Why to discriminate on religious lines?” asks Garg.