Police 'converted' domestic violence case into Gujarat's first love jihad FIR: NGO report

Kashmir Times. Dated: 10/9/2021 10:53:14 AM

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A report prepared by a social activists’ fact finding team on the 'claimed first love jihad case' of Gujarat, registered in Vadodara, the state’s cultural capital, two days after (June 17) the Gujarat’s Freedom of Religion Act (June 15) came into force, has claimed that the Dalit girl, who got married to a Muslim boy “may have been a victim of domestic violence but she was not a victim of forced marriage.”
The team, under the umbrella of NGO Buniyad, consisting of Hozefa Ujjaini, Samina Malek, Khairunnisha Pathan, Kherunben Saiyed and Pravin Soya says, on perusal of the documents and the affidavits signed by both the parties, “it seems that both the parties out of their own will had got into the marriage”, adding, “They registered their marriage under the special marriage Act.”

According to the NGO team, “It cannot be ignored that the girl’s name was changed to Suhanabanu in the nikah certificate but her court affidavit “states that the nikah was performed with her full consent and in the presence of her parents”, insisting, “The case was falsely described as ‘love jihad’ by the police to propagate the agenda of love jihad in the society to promote fear in the community about inter-faith marriage and spread hatred.”
Quoting documents obtained from the two sides, especially the affidavit filed in the district court by girl Priya (name changed), the report admits, however, that, since “they belonged to different religions, there were some cultural differences that arose between them. These differences led to arguments and fights.”

It adds, “She got upset and went back to her parents’ place. She went to file a complaint against her husband for physical and mental abuse. She denies that her complaint had anything to do with religious conversion or forced sexual relationship. She also clarifies that neither Sameer nor his family hurled any casteist slurs on her.”
At the same time, the report says, “In the affidavit, she has expressed shock on seeing the copy of the FIR which put false charges against Sameer and his family which defames them and her. In fact she goes on to state in the affidavit that she still loves her husband and wants to live with him.”

Dated June 24, quoting Priya’s affidavit, the report says, that “she befriended Sameer Qureshi through Instagram in February 2019. Though the account name showed ‘Sam Martin Rider’ on Instagram, she said below that name ‘Sameer Qureshi’ was clearly mentioned. Thus, she was aware that Sameer was a Muslim. They became friends and started meeting often. This resulted in a love affair.”
She went to file complaint against her husband for physical and mental abuse. She denies her complaint had anything to do with forced conversion
Further, it says, she they used to frequently go to hotels and have sexual intercourse “which was consensual and out of their own free will. She was not forced into having sexual intercourse”, adding, “She admits that she became pregnant and underwent abortion out of her own will since Sameer was underage and couldn’t marry her yet.”
According to the report, “She feared defamation if her pregnancy came to light and thus took oral medication to abort the foetus. Sameer didn’t force her to abort. The second time she was pregnant, they went to the hospital for abortion where again Sameer hadn’t forced her.”
However, the report says, “She categorically refuted the allegations that Sameer forcefully had sex with her, took her naked pictures and threatened to make them viral. She called these allegations utter lies in the affidavit. She clearly says that she didn’t make any of these allegations in the FIR filed by the police.”

It adds, “She clarifies that Sameer’s identity was not hidden from her family. Sameer used to frequently come to her parents’ house to meet her and talk to her parents. He was aware that they belonged to the Dalit caste and they were aware that he was a Muslim. When Sameer came of age, Priya and Sameer got married in front of their families with their blessings.”
The report blames “the involvement of Hindu Jagran Manch”, involved, especially its leader Neeraj Jain, an accused in communal riots in Khambhat, for “actively pursuing the case against Sameer and his family by raising the bogey of love jihad.”

 

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