New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday extended the interim protection till July 22 granted to a woman who claimed that she and her family are facing life-threats and being witch hunted by the UP police, media and vigilante groups after her wilful conversion from Hinduism to Islam.
Justice Rekha Palli noted that no one appeared on behalf of Director General of Uttar Pradesh Police and the state government, against whom the woman has raised grievances and said it needs to hear them before passing any orders.
“Despite service of advance notice, none appeared Respondent no 4 and 5 (UP authorities). It appears that the primary grievance raised by the petitioner (woman) is against respondent no. 4 and 5 who are situated beyond the territorial jurisdiction of this court. Before passing any orders, it is deemed appropriate to hear them,” the court said and directed the woman’s counsel to serve a copy of the petition to the counsel for UP in Supreme Court.
“List on July 22. In the meantime, interim orders to continue,” it said.
The high court had on July 1 granted interim protection till July 5 to the woman and had asked Delhi Police to take appropriate steps to protect her, noting that she was a young woman who has expressed apprehension regarding her security.
Advocate Tanya Agarwal, representing the woman, submitted that the petitioner was 29-year-old and has willfully converted to Islam from Hinduism in Delhi and that she apprehends that she will be forcibly taken to to Uttar Pradesh and will be reconverted to Hinduism.
Advocate Sameer Vashisth, representing Delhi Police, said the woman has stated that she has no grievance against Delhi Police and her issue is only against the UP authorities. The court was hearing the plea by the woman, who is working in Delhi.
She is from Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh and seeking protection for her and her family as also her right to privacy, saying that because of her conversion she and her family are being targeted and malicious content is being published in media which should be stopped immediately.
“The petitioner (woman) is an adult and she is protected by the Constitution to choose her own faith and she cannot be targeted and harassed for the choice she makes with regard to the religion she follows,” said the petition, filed through advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra and Nitin Kumar Nayak.
The plea said that Renu Gangwar alias Ayesha Alvi converted to Islam on May 27 in Delhi and since June 23, when she was in Shahjahanpur, she started getting calls from media persons requesting for a meeting which she refused.
It said media persons came to her place without her permission and took her photographs and videos and she started getting calls threatening that her conversion news will be published in media and she would be arrested and demanded money.
Thereafter, one of them forcibly took Rs 20,000 while others too tried to extort money from her and her family, the plea alleged, adding that absurd and imaginary details are being reported in media regarding her conversion.
The woman, in her plea, said she gave a complaint to the Delhi Police Commissioner on June 24, seeking immediate intervention for her protection with regard to her conversion to Islam on her own free will and without any threat or coercion from anyone but no action has been taken on her complaint yet. “There is no other option other than approaching this court for immediate directions to stop the harassment of the petitioner,” the plea said.
It sought to direct the authorities to ensure that the woman is not taken away from Delhi by force or coercion by any government agency or person and she and her family be granted protection and not harassed or interrogated regarding her conversion.
The plea further sought direction to the media not to publish or broadcast any malicious content regarding her and not to divulge her personal details and also remove the contents already shown.
It sought to direct the UP agencies to not harass the woman or any other person who have not converted in the state of UP and on whom the provisions of the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020 does not apply.
The petition has made Commissioner of Delhi Police, SHO of Jamia Nagar Police Station, Delhi government, Director General of UP Police, UP government as parties.