Lucknow : Police stopped an interfaith marriage that was to take place with the consent of both families here.
On Wednesday night Raina Gupta, 22, was to marry her childhood friend Mohammad Asif, 24.
The ritual was just about to begin, when police came in the way rousing anger in communities against the new anti-conversion law.
"This is exactly what is going to happen now. The police will decide whether a marriage can take place or not. The courts have said that no one can stop consenting adults from living together but with this law, it is the police that will take a call," said Maroof Ali, a young techie. Shirish Gupta, a relative from bride's side, was equally upset.
"The marriage was taking place in the presence of both the families but the police stopped the ceremonies. The guests were sent back without dinner. Could have never imagined such an incident would take place in Independent India," he said.
A Muslim cleric, who did not wish to be named, said: "Our apprehensions have come true sooner than expected. The police are now running the state and individual freedom has been mopped up by this new law."
According to reports, a Hindu Mahasabha district president Brijesh Shukla had submitted a complaint about the wedding in writing.
The wedding was to be first solemnised according to Hindu rituals and then in Muslim tradition.
Additional DCP (South Zone) Suresh Chandra Rawat said: "When the police reached the venue, they found that preparations were underway to conduct marriage rituals as per Hindu traditions. Later, the wedding was to be solemnised through Muslim rituals. The wedding was taking place with the consent of both families, but the planned religious ceremonies could not have been conducted without conversion."
The ADCP said the marriage was stopped in accordance with Sections 3 and 8 (clause two) of the recently promulgated Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, which states that nobody should convert or attempt to convert directly or otherwise any person from one religion to another "by use or any practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage".
Abetment, convincing or conspiring to carry out such conversion is also punishable under the new law.
No FIR has been lodged in the matter since the couple had the consent of both families.
Vijay Gupta, the bride's father, said that there was no forced religious conversion for the marriage and that both families had unconditionally given their consent to the union.
"I was unaware, until the police told us, that even after consent from all the parties, an interfaith marriage can be held only with the district magistrate's approval."
Raina and Mohammad Asif can now marry only after two months from the date of informing the District Magistrate.
IANS report with edits