An interfaith couple that made an escape to Delhi from Uttar Pradesh last month is seeking relief from any possible allegations of ‘love jihad’ under their home state’s newly passed ordinance against religious conversion. According to reports, the Hindu woman and Muslim man have been pursuing protection from the courts against their respective families and the UP police. Authorities in the state have been accused of a crackdown on consenting interfaith marriages ever since the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance was passed under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s government.
The couple, identified as 25-year-old Shameem and 21-year-old Simran according to The Indian Express, had petitioned in the High Court on December 16, “seeking protection not only from their families but also any coercive action by the UP Police.” Shameem was quoted saying, “We wouldn’t have been able to marry in Shahjahanpur, someone would have found out and stopped us.”
Last week, the two reportedly even applied for registration of their marriage, with the Delhi government assuring them of protection by police security if required. Reports however suggest that the HC has declined the couple’s plea at present, saying their requests are “in the realm of speculation.”
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Recent Cases Registered Under The ‘Love Jihad’ Law
Bharatiya Janata Party-led states, notably UP, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, have all proposed strict action under law against the phenomenon of ‘love jihad,’ a controversial claim that alleges an unproven conspiracy by Muslim men to forcefully induct Hindu women into Islam by coercion or fraud. Adityanath’s UP, especially, has been under the radar of widespread criticism for reportedly enforcing the ‘love jihad’ law on adult couples, despite their consensual choice of an interfaith union.
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Recently, the mother-in-law of a 22-year-old woman, who was the first to be detained under UP’s ‘love jihad’ law, alleged that her daughter-in-law suffered a miscarriage at a shelter home at Moradabad. However, the UP officials denied the allegations and said that the women did not suffer a miscarriage, calling the reports “fake news”. Her husband, Rashid, who was arrested under the law was recently released after UP officials failed to provide adequate proof of their ‘love jihad’ allegations.