On 29 January, a man named Dushyant Chowdhary hanged himself to death at his home in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh.
His family alleged that he took the extreme step under constant pressure of his Muslim in-laws to convert to Islam.
Dushyant was 25.
Based on a complaint by Dushyant’s cousin Johny, the Nauchandi police filed a first important report (FIR) on 29 January (number 15/2023). However, despite the forced conversion allegations, police have booked Dushyant’s wife and in-laws only for abetment to suicide.
Dushyant’s father passed away ten years ago and he is survived by his mother and a sister, besides his wife Farha and a two-year-old daughter who live separately.
What his family told Rashtra Jyoti
Dushyant’s cousin Johny said that Farha was a friend of Dushyant’s sister Rekha and visited their house often. Farha and Dushyant entered into a relationship. His family objected to it, but Dushyant had made up his mind.
“I once found a burqa in Dushyant’s bag. That’s what confirmed my suspicions. Then everyone in the family learnt about it. We tried to talk to Dushyant out of it, but he was adamant that he wanted to marry Farha,” says Johny.
A little before the nationwide lockdown came into effect in March 2020, Dushyant left home. The family found him living with Farha.
They reached the police station for help. The police recovered the couple, presented them before the magistrate, but allowed them to continue to live together as they were both major (above 18 years of age).
Johny says that during this time, Dushyant lost touch with his family, but Farha remained in contact with hers.
Rashtra Jyoti also talked to Sumit, a friend of Dushyant.
He said that while the two were dating, Dushyant had adopted Islamic ways. He had stopped going to temples or accepting puja offerings such as prasad.
Once, Sumit saw him coming out of a mosque wearing a skull cap and white kurta-pajama. When Sumit tried to talk to him, Dushyant argued that Islam was the only religion suitable to follow. When Sumit argued against it, Dushyant got angry and left.
A few days later, Sumit found the name of Dushyant’s Facebook account changed to ‘Faiz Qureshi’.
Sumit shared with Rashtra Jyoti a picture of Dushyant in a skull cap which he once posted on Facebook.
A year after he left to live with Farha, Dushyant returned home, but remained aloof and mostly confined to his room. This was around the time when second lockdown came into effect in 2021.
Sumit noticed a change. Dushyant had deleted his Facebook account and begun going to temples again. The two friends however did not talk about it.
Sumit learnt that Dushyant had had a daughter with Farha, and the reason for his return was that while he had tried his best to change his faith and lifestyle to suit Farha’s family, he had got tired of it.
“Dushyant had grown tired of changing everything about him. In his heart, he was Hindu, and had stopped following Islamic customs,” Sumit told Rashtra Jyoti.
Farha’s family had taken Farha and the daughter away from him. They had put a condition on him that if he wanted to have his wife and daughter back, he would have to live as a Muslim.
“Her family wanted him to read kalma again and serve [Tablighi] Jamaat for 40 days in Deoband,” says Sumit.
“Perhaps tired of it all, he committed suicide,” he adds.
Dushyant belonged to the Jat caste of Hindus. He would take bookings for DJ system, which was his source of earning.
Johny, who works as a school teacher, had been taking care of Dushyant’s mother in his absence. Dushyant’s sister Rekha is married.
What the FIR says
Johny’s statement recorded in the FIR repeats what he and Sumit told Rashtra Jyoti but is concise. You can read the statement below.
He identified four persons as accused namely Farha, her father Hanif, her mother (name not mentioned) and her brother Amjad Ibrahim. Farha’s sisters (names not mentioned) and “seven-eight unidentified men” have also been named.
The Nauchandi police of Meerut have so far booked the accused only for abetting suicide.
Notably, despite the state government enacting a law against forced conversions in November 2020, the police have been found to be applying the Act sparingly. For instance, in a case where a Muslim man fooled a Hindu woman into believing that he was Hindu and went to the extent of getting the Hindu name printed on the wedding invitation cards, the police did not invoke the UP Freedom of Religion Act.
We Need Your Support
Your Aahuti is what sustains this Yajna. With your Aahuti, the Yajna grows. Without your Aahuti, the Yajna extinguishes. We are a small team that is totally dependent on you. To support, consider making a voluntary subscription.UPI ID - rashtrajyotiupi@icici, rashtrajyoti@hdfcbank, rashtrajyoti@kotak, 75years@icici