'No Evidence' Muslim Men Suspected Under UP's Anti- Conversion Law

The Allahabad High Court on Friday asked police not to take any action against the arrested men under the suspicion of Uttar Pradesh's Anti- Conversion Law. Nadeem along with his brother was booked for tampering with the law earlier this month after he tried to get his marriage registered with a 22-year-old Hindu woman in Moradabad's Kanth area, about 350 km from the state capital Lucknow. The couple was heckled by a right-wing group, the Bajrang Dal.

The group accosted them and the 22-year-old woman at the marriage registration office and stopped them from going ahead with the registration formalities. The woman was pregnant and was kept at a shelter by the Moradabad Police but later released by the magistrate. She later alleged that a government doctor gave her an injection "to induce a miscarriage".

Brothers, arrested and jailed under Uttar Pradesh's new law against "unlawful" conversion, were freed this morning after spending nearly two weeks in prison in the Moradabad district. They were arrested on On November 29, two days after the Yogi Adityanath-government implemented the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 against the so-called 'Love Jihad'

Petitioner argued that Yogi's edict is in conflict with the High Court’s recent judgment that said the “right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them is intrinsic to right to life and personal liberty”.

"What can I say. We married with consent. I spent 15 days in jail. I am very happy today," said Nadeem after stepping out of the prison. When asked if he felt the police had misused the new law, he refused to comment.

"I am an adult, I am 22 years old. I got married to my own free will on the 24th of July. This is the fifth month that we have been married," said the woman.

Petition on Love Jihad

According to the petition, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had announced on October 31 that his dispensation would bring a law against "love jihad". The state government had on November 24 approved the draft ordinance, which provided for a jail term of up to 10 years for violators. "Love jihad" is a term used by right-wing activists to discredit interfaith marriages by describing them as part of an alleged conspiracy by Muslim men to convert Hindu women in the guise of love.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Piyush Agrawal, passed the order while hearing public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Saurabh Kumar, who challenged the constitutional validity of the ordinance against "forcible" and "fraudulent" religious conversions, including for the sake of marriage.

The primary contention raised in the PIL was that the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance impinges upon the fundamental right to choice and the right to change of faith.

The petitioner said the ordinance was morally and constitutionally invalid.

The PIL contended that the provisions of the ordinance gave policing powers over a citizen's choice of life partner or religion and, therefore, militate against the fundamental rights to individual autonomy, privacy, human dignity, and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.

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