The Uttar Pradesh police have arrested 14 members of a Muslim man's family from Etah district under the state's new law against 'Love Jihad', The Times of India reported on Wednesday, December 23.
Mohammad Javed, accused of kidnapping and unlawfully converting a Hindu woman to Islam is absconding since November 17. A case has been registered under Indian Penal Code Section 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage etc) and under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020.
The UP Police had filed an FIR report at Jalesar police station after they received a complaint from the woman's father on December 17. The father had allegedly received a letter from Javed's lawyer in Delhi, informing him about his daughter's forced conversion and marriage.
"Javed and his close relatives are still absconding," the cops said. The police have also announced a reward of Rs 25,000 on each of the accused who are missing.
Jalesar Station House Officer Krishna Pal Singh said that three relatives each from Javed's family were arrested, while eight more were arrested on Tuesday.
"14 people have been arrested so far," Deputy Superintendent of Police Ram Niwas Singh said, adding that the police teams are trying to find the woman and arrest the accused who is on the run.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's Cabinet on November 24 cleared the Ordinance, proposing a maximum punishment of 10 years for "love jihad" related offences. Under the law, a marriage will be declared "null and void" if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose, and those willing to change their religion post-marriage need to apply to the district magistrate.
Apart from Uttar Pradesh, several other states have introduced similar laws aimed at preventing inter-faith marriage.
In February, early this year, the Centre had told the Lok Sabha that no "case of 'love jihad' had been reported by any of the central agencies". The Calcutta High Court on December 21, said that the court can interfere if an adult woman decides to marry and convert to another religion of her own free will.