Two arrested in UP's Kannauj district under new anti-conversion law

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Kannauj, Dec 21 (PTI) Two people have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh's Kannauj district in separate cases under the state's new anti-conversion law, police said on Monday.

Mohammad Taufeeq was arrested on Sunday for allegedly marrying a 29-year-old woman by hiding his religion and then forcing her to convert, Superintendent of Police (SP) Prashant Verma said.

The FIR in the case was lodged in Kannauj on a complaint from the woman's father, he said.

In his complaint, the father said that Taufeeq 'trapped' his daughter by hiding his religion and on Saturday, took her to Lucknow. There he disclosed his religion and married her, and forced her to convert, the SP said.

Besides being charged under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, Taufeeq has also been booked under sections pertaining to cheating and impersonation of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Prashant Verma said.

The complainant has alleged that Taufeeq introduced himself as Rahul Verma to marry his daughter, the officer said.

In Saraimeera village of the district, police claimed to have arrested a man on Friday for allegedly trying to 'trap' a woman without disclosing his religion.

Ahtesham was caught by a mob and handed over to police. He was booked under the anti-conversion law, they said.

Under the law which deals with different categories of offences, a marriage will be declared 'null and void' if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose, and those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to apply to the district magistrate.

The ordinance mainly envisages that no person shall convert, either directly or indirectly from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage nor shall any person abet, convince or conspire such conversion.

The onus to prove that the conversion has not been done forcibly will lie on the person accused of the act and the convert, it said. PTI CORR ABN ANB ANB