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Women detained in UP under new 'Love Jihad' law; UP officials deny forced abortion claims

Women detained in UP under new Love Jihad law; UP officials deny forced abortion claims

Image Courtesy : NDTV

Muskan Jahan, 22, the first woman detained under UP's 'Love Jihad' law, is alleged to have undergone a forced abortion in police custody. Her family alleged that she was given an injection against her will to abort her 3 month old foetus, because she married a Muslim man and converted to Islam on her own will.

The police however termed the miscarriage a "fake news". Rashid, 27, Muskan's husband, is being held in an undisclosed prison in Uttar Pradesh for purportedly entrapping Muskan by marrying her into converting from Hinduism to Islam, under the new anti-conversion law.

"This is what Muslims do, first they love, and then they carry out Love Jihad after a few months. We know Pinky [Muskan] is seeing love right now, but after a few days she will find it very difficult to live her life," was how Gaurav Bhatnagar, a Bajrang Dal leader from Moradabad said to justify the couples arrest.

Muskan Jahan called her mother-in-law from a government shelter where she is being kept in Uttar Pradesh's city of Moradabad, claiming she had bled profusely and lost her baby afterwards.

On Saturday morning, Mrs. Jahan tried to visit Muskan in the Nari Niketan shelter but was refused inside the house. She claims that her three-month pregnant daughter-in-law was given an injection by workers to abort the baby because she converted from Hinduism to Islam and married her Muslim son.

Rashid and Muskan (then known as Pinky) met and developed a relationship since, both were migrant workers in the North Indian city of Dehradun and decided to get married.

Even though Rashid's family was upset at his swift action, they accepted her as their own family and looked after her. Pinky, who had taken the decision to convert and adopt the name Muskan before her marriage in July, soon got pregnant, much to the delight of her mother-in-law, before the arrest.

Rashid was arrested on Sunday, after the family visited a lawyer in Moradabad to register their marriage in Uttar Pradesh, as the couple had married in neighbouring Uttarakhand.

Rashid and Muskan Jahan (Pinky)

The Bajrang Dal, a hardline Hindu right wing party, blocked the family's route home, threatening them and calling the police. The police arrested Rashid and brought Muskan to the shelter home while the couple were happily married, despite her denial of any coercion. "I am an adult, I am 22 years old. I got married of my own free will," she said.

The BJP has introduced a series of government measures defending Hinduism and has been repeatedly accused of Islamophobia since Mr Modi was re-elected with a landslide victory in 2019. The BJP argues that Muslim men are trying to brainwash Hindu women to convert to Islam before marriage in order to bring about demographic change, a trend described as 'Love Jihad.'

For hundreds of years, Hindus and Muslims have lived side-by-side in Uttar Pradesh, and although interfaith marriages are uncommon, they make up three per cent of unions.

Last month, Uttar Pradesh passed laws to prohibit marriages arranged to make Hindu women into Muslims, a phenomenon known as 'Love Jihad'. But opponents say the legislation is a poorly-disguised effort by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist ruling party to harass prospective inter-faith couples and break up interfaith unions.

Although the law does not mention any caste, the police are targeting Muslims in Uttar Pradesh - so far at least ten Muslim men have been arrested, but no Hindus.

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TAGS:LoveJihad Law UP Police Yogi Adityanath 
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