Ground Report: How Woman From Pakistani Hindu Migrant Family Is Fighting Off ‘Forced Conversion Attempt’ To Islam

A Hindu woman from Madhya Pradesh has filed a police case against her Muslim brother-in-law and his family for forcing her to convert to their religion. The woman has roots in Sindh from where her grandfather shifted to India after Partition of India In 1947.

Her case was recently highlighted in the media. The police have made only one arrest in the case so far, and are dismissing the forced conversion angle, insisting that it is a matter of land dispute. The woman, on the other hand, is firm on her allegations.

She has met state home minister Narottam Mishra and Member of Parliament from Bhopal Pragya Thakur with her grievances against police.

This correspondent met the woman at her house this week. Below is the reproduction of what she said.

The visit

I met the victim on 5 November 2022 at her residence in Gandhi Nagar area of Bhopal. It took around 40 minutes to reach her house through cab from Rani Kamlapati railway station.

The colony she lives in comes after crossing a long street full of butcher shops. One can see the top of a mosque while passing by the congested lanes.

From the front view of her house, a broken boundary wall could be seen. Beside hers is a house with a big black gate. As soon as I entered, there was an unpainted room with cemented bricks, covered by tin sheets.

The sewage pipe from the house poured the waste directly at the entrance.

Entrance to Rekha’s house

A boy called me inside, where she was sitting. It was a two-room set with a kitchen, but decorated well. 

The woman said she is a Sindhi named Rekha Tejwani, and her grandfather had migrated to India after Partition. This plot was allotted to them by the government. Although they are the third generation living here, they still do not have any government documents for their land, she said.

Rekha has been living her for 34 years. “Demographically, this area has an almost equal population of Hindus and Muslims,” she said.

She began talking about her problems while pouring a glass of water for me. Her son was playing a game on the TV, which was Android-supported. 

A small room inside looked older than the rest of the house. Rekha said it was the room where her mother had come after her marriage, and she had many emotions attached to the room. She said both her parents are no more. 

About Rehman

Rekha said that her sister Chandrika entered into a relationship with Abdul Rehman Khan, a neighbour. In 2006, they eloped but she returned home in two days. Her father, Rajkumar, was still alive then. It was a huge setback for him as the incident brought him social shame. He was deeply hurt and passed away within a year. Rekha’s mother had died when Rekha was only a year old.

Rehman and Chandrika alias Kehkasha Rehman

At the time of her father’s demise, she was 19 and Chandrika was 21. 

With help of relatives, Chandrika was married to a man from the Sindhi community. Rehman’s family too married him to a woman from his Muslim community, and he has two children from this marriage. 

In 2009, Chandrika left her husband and eloped with Rehman again. They got married and Chandrika became Kehkasha Rehman after converting to Islam. She became the second wife of Rehman. He never took her to his house but kept her somewhere else in a rented room, told Rekha.

About Rekha

Chandrika’s elopement affected Rekha’s life deeply. She was boycotted by her relatives. For her marriage, she would get proposals either from divorced men or aged ones. “All of this was because no one wanted to marry a girl whose sister had eloped with a Muslim man. They perhaps assumed I would do the same,” says Rekha.

In 2013, she got married to a man she met through a matrimonial website. The man was from Chennai, was Hindu but not from her Sindhi community. The relatives nevertheless arranged the wedding. Rekha has a son from this marriage. 

Rekha with her son

Rekha says she could not adjust for long in Chennai, a city culturally alien to her. She eventually gave up and ended the marriage. She returned to Bhopal in 2015. 

She began working at Sant Hridayram college as a teacher. While she worked there, her son was only nine-months-old. 

Rekha says she was grappling with another problem at that time – an ongoing land dispute with one of her uncles. 

Rekha’s father was the eldest among five siblings. After the death of her father, her two uncles occupied the entire one-acre land allotted to the refugee family, she says. “We were not given a share of the property as we were daughters, not sons. They said they had spent on our weddings.”

She fought the legal battle and won it, but it took her three years. She was given the same room where her mother had come after marriage and her father had died. It was a single room with space left only for a chair after a bed and almirah was placed inside.

Rekha managed to survive alone. She looked after her son and obtained legal separation from her husband. The custody of her son remained with her. 

Chandrika alias Kehkasha

When Rekha returned to Bhopal, she re-established contact with her sister. Although the two began meeting often, Chandrika had changed quite a lot. “Chandrika seemed unhappy. One day, I learnt she consumed poison after a fight with Rehman,” says Rekha.

Rekha rushed to the hospital and took care of her sister for two months. Rehman did not come to the hospital to see his wife at all, she says. 

Rekha tried convincing Chandrika to leave Rehman, but she did not agree to the proposal. “Chandrika never said even a word against Rehman but I could sense that something was off.”

“She used to wear burqa before leaving her house, would offer namaz five times a day. She had begun believing in tricks and amulets. She would tell me Kalma is solution for each of her problems in life. She had totally become Muslim,” says Rekha. 

As soon as Chandrika recovered, Rehman arrived and took her with him. Rekha tried stopping her but failed.

Rekha landed a job offer in Mumbai. It was for a textile firm as a supervisor. She joined immediately. Her son was growing up, her savings were good and she felt her life was getting back on track. But then came the nationwide lockdown owing to the deadly Covid-19 virus. Rekha had to return to Bhopal without a job. 

She found her sister in a bad shape, financially. Rehman works as a mechanic, and his shop was shut during the lockdown. He could barely manage to pay the rent for Kehkasha. 

Rekha says she offered to help by sharing a portion of the land she had received from her uncle. “I paid for construction of a new room. Rehman and Kehkasha, with their daughters, shifted to that room.” 

The room constructed on Rekha’s land for Kehkasha and Rehman

Rehman would daily go to his house, where his first wife lived. He would spend the days with Kehkasha and nights at his home. Rekha says she used to beat Kehkasha routinely. If Rekha tried to stop him, he would beat her up as well. 

By then, Rekha had entered into a relationship with another man. She got married to him soon after. Both of them were divorcees and parent to a child each. Rekha shifted to her husband’s house in Govindpura area in Bhopal. It is roughly 25 kilometers from Gandhi Nagar.

Rekha used to visit her house in Gandhi Nagar once or twice a week. She had constructed a hall and a kitchen besides that single room she acquired from her uncle. Owing to her frequent visits to her home, her new husband began doubting her, she says.

Rekha’s home

“He thought I am involved with Rehman or some other Muslim man. We began to have fights and, finally, I shifted back to my house,” says Rekha. 

She says she married during the lockdown and returned during the lockdown. 

Rekha says that after this episode, Rehman and Kehkasha began drawing her attention towards Islam. “They used to do it even earlier, but I never took it seriously.” 

Rekha says Rehman began telling her she would have a place in Jannat if she accepts Islam. When she paid no heed, he began sending clerics and Imams to her house. Soon, anyone from the Mosque visiting Kehkasha’s house would come to Rekha’s house as well. 

“They offered me a post at the Madarsa – an office job. The condition was that I must convert,” she says.

They would read out portions of the Quran to her, saying the book was the solution to my every problem.  

When Rekha still did not show any interest, Rehman and his family began harassing her.

Rehman’s brother Firoz began following her to her office. His friends would pass comments on her. 

Rehman installed a CCTV camera directed towards her house. They would share these clippings among themselves. “I used to wear shorts at home. Whenever I stepped out for water or some other work, they would capture it.” 

Rekha says that a cleric, Maulana Anwar, who used to visit her house, began threatening her that he would make her life hell if she rejected his religious proposal. He began forcing her to marry a man from his community and start working at the Madarsa. Rekha says the ‘Nikahi Abba’ (the witness of the marriage between Kehkasha and Rehman) once asked her – “How much money do you charge for a night?“

Rekha says she reached out to the police for help, but they did not take her complaint letter. When Rehman learned about this, he beat her up on the road.

She says the police registered a non-cognisance offence in the assault. 

The NCR report:

Rekha told the police that on 18 July 2022, she was sleeping with her son when someone knocked at her door. From the voices, she learnt they were Kehkasha and Rehman. They were using abusive language. They were angry over the boundary wall of the house. They even threatened to kill her.

The second case

Rekha says that when the police did not act in that matter and her harassment continued, she tried to file a First Information Report (FIR) against Rehman, but the police did not take her complaint, calling it fake. 

She says she rushed from one office to another to get her complaint registered. One day, while she was waiting outside the police commissioner’s office, crying, a man came to her asking what had happened to her. Luckily for her, he turned out to be a journalist. He helped her in getting the police accept her complaint letter. No case however was filed, she says. After this episode, she reached out to state home minister Narottam Mishra.

Letter given to Dr. Narottam Mishra, Home Minister, Madhya Pradesh

On 3 November 2022, she reached the office of the state home minister and met Mishra. He directed the police to take action against Rehman. Then, an FIR was filed at Gandhi Nagar police station of Bhopal city. 


The statement recorded in this FIR, in the name of Rekha Tejwani, says she lives in Gandhi Nagar area of Bhopal with her seven-year-old son. In 2010, Abdul Rehman Khan lured her sister and trapped her in his web of ‘Love Jihad’. He forced her to convert to Islam and changed her name from Chandrika to Kehkasha Rehman. 

Now, Rehman is forcing Rekha to convert to Islam as well. Rehman is grandson of Islamic cleric Mufti Abdul Razzak and is associated with Tarjume Wali Masjid in Bhopal. Along with him, some long-bearded people from the Madrasa and Mosque are also forcing her to convert. They tell her that accepting Islam will give her a place in paradise. They are asking her to marry a man named Aslam from their community. 

She does not want to be a victim of ‘Love Jihad’ and strict action must be taken against her brother-in-law Rehman, Anwar Qureshi (cleric), Firoz Khan (Rehman’s brother), Hafiz Abid Siddiqui (Nikahi Abba of Kehkasha) and Aslam (the relative they want her to marry). 

Based on this statement, the police booked all the named accused under IPC section 506 (criminal intimidation) and sections 3/5 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021. 

Rekha says she was neither satisfied with the IPC sections invoked in the FIR not with action taken by the police, and so reached the home minister’s office again.

The same day, police came to her house around 11 in the night. She told them she would go to the police station in the morning as it was too late. When she reached the police station the next morning, the FIR had already been registered with her statement. Rekha says she was still not satisfied with the IPC sections invoked against Rehman, which were all bailable. She says she wants strict punishment for him. 

This correspondent could not access the final FIR as the police have not given it to Rekha. However, she said she had a look at it in the police station and the police had booked Rehman under IPC sections 506 and 504, and sections of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act. She says she wants other sections added for encroaching on her land and assaults she has faced in the past. 

Rekha says she has also met Pragya Thakur, but the police are not supporting her.

When Rekha had shifted to Govindpura area with her second husband, Rehman demolished the boundary wall to get the bulldozer inside in order to demolish Rekha’s side of the house. He wanted to rent the place to clerics from the Mosque, she says. 

She says Rehman and his family are accusing her of prostitution. Her pictures from her social media profiles with her male friends are being circulated with claims she sleeps with men for money.

She says all she wants to do her is raise her son well. Instead, she is being subjected to character assassination and forced to leave her own house.  

The Police

The Investigating Officer of this case, Arun Sharma, told Swarajya that prima facie this case is a matter of land dispute to which media has given a communal angle. 

He said, “Rehman lives like a Hindu. He was the one who looked after Rekha’s marriage after her father’s demise.” The officer declined to speak more.

When this correspondent confronted Rekha with the police’s statement, she said the mosque side had “bought” the police.

Rekha will record her statement in front of the court under section 164 of the CrPC this week.

This correspondent called Rekha to ask if the police arrested any of the accused named in the FIR so far, to which she replied, “This morning when I was heading to the court for my statements, on my way I saw Anwar [one of the accused] in his shop. I stopped by the police station to inform that Anwar was at his shop. They kept sitting and made no effort to catch him.”

She says she waited at the police station for half-an-hour till a senior officer arrived. When she told him the matter, the cops brought Anwar to the police station.

This correspondent again called Investigating Officer Arun Sharma and asked about the arrests made so far. He said Anwar had been arrested while others were absconding.

Asked if he could talk more about the investigation, the officer said, “No speculations can be made as of now. We are considering both the sides, that is, the land dispute angle as well as the conversion angle.”

Rekha, on the other hand, says that the police have not taken her case seriously ever, and dismissing the forced conversion angle.

“Had it been a matter of property, why would I have allowed my sister and her husband to construct a room for themselves? I provided them electricity connection, water supply and everything they required.”

She concluded her statement saying she was born in the Hindu Sindhi community and would die with that identity.

(This report has been edited by Senior Editor of Swarajya, Swati Goel Sharma)

The report was first published in Swarajya here.

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