Bijnor: Nine days after a 19-year-old Muslim youth in Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor was booked under the new anti-conversion law for allegedly eloping with a minor Dalit girl and for trying to coerce her into marriage, the father of the minor and the complainant took a U-turn and said that there was no question of marriage involved in the matter. He also denied claims of eloping.
According to reports in the Hindustan Times, Arun Kumar Tyagi, the station house officer of Dharampur station said that a case has been registered against 19-year-old Mohd Saqib alias Sonu under Sections 363 (punishment for kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman to compel her marriage) of the Indian Penal Code, provisions of POSCO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the new ordinance against forced and dishonest religious conversion.
Charges, if proven, could mean imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine of not less than ₹ 25,000.
The girl’s father first alleged that the Muslim boy lured his minor daughter, but has now taken a U-turn and said that there was no question of marriage involved in the matter.
According to Times of India, the case was filed by the girl’s father who said that the girl is a minor and the boy had “lured” her by saying that his name was Sonu and that he was Hindu.
Both Times of India and Hindustan Times reported that the girl mentioned during interrogation that the boy had ‘lured’ her by hiding his identity and had tried to coerce her into conversion.
However, according to a recent report by The Print, both the people involved are minors and the girl’s father denied that his daughter was trying to elope. He also accused the local police of dictating the complaint to him. The Print also accessed the father’s complaint and according to them, it does not mention sexual assault.
Speaking to The Print, the girl’s father said, “I told them (police) that she had gone with him for an outing and she made a mistake, but police and then the media made it out to be an episode of elopement.” He also said, “I had told police that I do not want to complain but they scolded me and said they may elope in the future and I must do it for my daughter. I do not understand much of how things work, so I agreed”.
According to the report, the girl also made a statement before the magistrate saying Sonu and she had just gone for “an outing” and there was no talk of marriage or elopement.
But, the girl does mention that she didn’t know he was Muslim. However, Sonu’s family denies this and says that the girl visited the boy in his village Kirarkheda which is an all-Muslim village and she was aware of this.
The Print also spoke to the Pradhan of Kirarkheda who said, “This is a case of two children making the wrong decision of meeting without their parents’ knowledge. But does it call for this 19-year-old to be thrown behind the bars with hardcore criminals who are in there for murder and rape?”