Nine years after her marriage, a Hindu woman has filed a case against her husband of trapping her with a false name in order to convert her to Islam.
She says she learnt the truth much later after marriage. Swarajya has seen the couple’s wedding card from 2013, which mentions the man’s name as Amit Kumar and his father’s name as Sukhram Singh.
As per her complaint to the police, her husband Ikrar Qureshi, who she says holds an Aadhaar card in the name of Amit, pressured her to get both their sons circumcised.
The woman, Rachna Solanki, says she never gave in to the pressure and returned to her parents’ home. However, she had to run from pillar to post to file the police case as cops told her it was a domestic dispute between a husband and wife, she says.
Curiously, the police have not invoked the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 (loosely called ‘love jihad law) in the case.
What the FIR says
A first information report (number 354/2022) was registered at Jagdishpura police station of Agra district in UP on 18 June 2022.
The statement recorded in the FIR by complainant Rachna says that in the year 2013, she married a man named Amit Kumar, who said he was son of Sukhram Singh and a resident of Ward number 9 Kasba in Farah town of Mathura. The two got married in Moti Garden banquet halls in Agra. After marriage, Rachna gave birth to two sons named Naksh and Akshaya.
Soon after having kids, Amit changed his colours. He started forcing her to eat meat. He force-fed her meat during Navratri (a Hindu festival). He tore pages of Hindu religious books kept in the house and set them on fire. He threw out her temple. After these incidents, he tried everything to convert her to Islam and also assaulted her.
On 12 January 2020, a group of Muslim men came at her house and started preparing for a circumcision ritual. That day, Rachna learned the truth about Amit and found out his actual name – Ikrar Qureshi – and the fact that he was Muslim. He revealed that his father’s name was Ikram Qureshi.
Ikram told Rachna if she did not allow the circumcision ritual and accept Islam, he would chop her and her kids into pieces and throw them in a suitcase.
When the scuffle broke out, neighbours arrived. Soon, Ikrar and his family members ran away.
Three days later, that is on 15 January 2020, Ikram, Iqbal (Ikrar’s brother-in-law) and another Ikram (Ikrar’s brother-in-law) came home to meet Rachna, where they tried convincing her to convert to Islam. They said the circumcision procedure was mandatory. When Rachna did not respond in the affirmative, they threatened her that she would be killed along with her children. They took away her jewellery and cash as well.
After the kids were born and Rachna was being forced to convert to Islam, Ikrar forced himself upon her several times. Due to this, Rachna faced medical complications.
Rachna concluded her complaint here.
The FIR mentions Ikrar, Ikram, another Ikram and Iqbal as suspects under IPC sections 498-A (harassment of the woman), 420 (cheating), 406 (breach of trust), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult), 506 (criminal intimidation), 377 (voluntarily having carnal intercourse against the order of nature), 295-A (outraging religious feelings) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
What the police told Swarajya
Swarajya called up sub-inspector Pankaj Kumar Mishra from Jagdishpura police station on 25 June. He said the key accused, Ikrar, was arrested the very next day the FIR got filed.
Earlier on 16 June, he was kept in the lockup for interrogation.
SI Mishra said that Rachna recorded her statement in front of the magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC on 19 June while a detailed medical checkup was done on 20 June.
Asked about the arrest of other named suspects, Mishra said that investigation was on and they would locate them soon. He disconnected the call after this saying he was posted on VIP duty.
On 7 July, responding to a tweet regarding the case posted by Swarajya journalist Swati Goel Sharma, the official Twitter account of Mathura Police shared a number, saying it was the contact of station house officer of Jagdishpura.
When Swarajya called up the number and asked about the case, the officer, Devendra Shankar Pandey, said that allegations by the victim were found to be prima facie true, including the false name mentioned on Rachna’s wedding card in 2013.
Asked why police had failed to invoke the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021, despite the case ticking every box of what constitutes “love jihad”, the officer said that no conversion had actual taken place.
“Rachna and her children did not eventually convert,” he said. When given the argument that the Act included cases of attempt to conversion also, the officer said he was busy and disconnected the call.
Swarajya has an audio recording of this conversation.
Readers are reminded that ‘love jihad’ is a name given in India to the pattern of crimes where Muslim men target women of other religions and trap them in relationships to convert them to Islam.
Christian, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Hindu communities have publicly protested against this pattern, calling it by the phrase “love jihad”. Many women have filed police cases against men, accusing them of “love jihad”. Swarajya has reported several such cases.
What the victim told Swarajya
Swarajya called up Rachna Solanki for her detailed statement. This is what she shared:
In 2012 when her final semester exams for her graduation degree were on, she met Amit through a common friend. They exchanged their contact numbers and started talking over the phone. “Those were old-style keypad phones with no instant chat features,” she says.
He introduced himself as Amit. When asked what his father did for a living, ‘Amit’ said his father died many years ago. He said his mother had become a “satsangi” (ascetic) and lived in Vrindavan on her own.
Amit told her he lived in Agra on rent. He said he belonged to the Jat caste. Rachna too belongs to this caste. The two were attracted to each other. Rachna told everything about Amit to her parents. Her father called up Amit and asked him to meet them.
Amit visited their house, accompanied by a man he referred to as ‘mama’ (maternal uncle). Rachna was the only girl child in the family and pampered. Amit had a “very emotional conversation” with her parents, she says.
“He said he had lived half of his life without parents and, with Rachna, he could have parents again. He said a lot of things that made even me teary-eyed. It certainly moved my parents,” says Rachna.
Her father agreed to the alliance. “My father was happy that his daughter would stay in front of his eyes,” she says.
Amit told the family that his mother would come directly on the day of the wedding.
On 30 January 2013, they got married at ‘Moti Garden’ banquet hall which is located on Firozabad road. The marriage took place as per Hindu rituals.
Rachna shared with Swarajya a picture of her wedding card. It mentions the groom’s name as Amit and his father’s name as Sukhram Singh.
On the day of the wedding, Rachna was taken to a rented apartment within the town where she met a woman, who said she was Amit’s mother. She did not stay back for long. “I never saw the woman again,” says Rachna.
For four years, things went well. The couple did Diwali pooja together and went to various temples. Rachna says she is an ardent follower of Lord Hanuman. Amit accompanied her to temples.
Rachna says Amit changed after the birth of her second child, who was also a boy.
One day, Amit told her that she should cover her head whenever the call of Azaan was made. Rachna replied that they were not Muslims and there was no need for her to do that. “Maine kaha, hum koi mulle thodi hain. Wo dhakti hain sar, mai kyun dhaku [It is Muslims who cover their heads during Azaan. We are not Muslims then why should I do that],” she told Swarajya.
Amit remained silent.
Later in the day, Rachna mistakenly dropped a bottle of cumin seeds in the kitchen. Amit beat her up for that. “I could not understand what had taken over him. He assaulted me badly. I did not even know why. Cumin seeds is too petty a reason,” she says.
Rachna told this to her father. Her parents came home and confronted Amit. They asked him why he had beaten her. “Amit said, Rachna never follows what I say. She never does things I want her to do,” Rachna told Swarajya.
When Rachna’s father asked him what things he was talking about, he did not respond.
The next “peculiar” incident happened during Navratri. Rachna kept fasts and recited ‘Saptsati Paath’ every day. One day, Amit, who used to eat meat outside, brought meat at home. He forcefully put a piece of meat in her mouth, she says.
The same day, he threw the temple out. He tore the pages of the book from which Rachna used to recite ‘Saptsati Path’. He set various other Hindu religious books on fire.
“I did not understand anything. I decided he must be angry at the Gods for some reason,” she says.
The next major incident happened after a few days when the world came crashing down on Rachna. Amit said he loved Islam, was thinking of converting to Islam, Rachna must do the same and their children must undergo the circumcision ritual.
When Rachna said she would tell her family about this, he backtracked and said he was out of his mind when he said all that.
Rachna says until that time, they had never had any visitors at home from Amit’s side of the family or his workplace. He had never taken her to any family function.
He never made her meet his “mother” again. “He would go to Mathura for work, and meet his mother after taking out some time off work. That’s what he always told me,” she says.
He did not allow her to make a Facebook account, saying it was a bad thing.
She recalls that once, he suggested they should visit the famous Dargah at Ajmer Sharif, to which Rachna said it was her wish to see visit Pushkar. She asked him if they could instead go to Pushkar as there was a big temple of Lord Brahma there. Amit ignored her wish, she says.
Things changed sharply for the worse in 2019.
On 10 March 2019, Rachna requested him to accompany her to her brother’s wedding that was happening within Agra. Amit refused even though the function was to take place right in front of their rented house. Rachna went alone.
After some time, Amit turned up at the function. However, he created a scene by screaming at her in front of everyone and even spat on her publicly, she says.
“He did it during an argument. It was shocking for me as well as my entire family,” she says.
From 2019, arguments over religion became a regular affair at home.
One day, he called a group of men for circumcision ritual and revealed his name was Ikrar Qureshi and his father’s name was Ikram.
Rachna says Amit had always had an Aadhaar card in the name of Amit Kumar. Swarajya asked if Rachna could share a copy of his Aadhaar card, but she said she did not have it.
She managed to make the group leave her home. She also tried to come to terms with the reality of Amit.
Ikrar was now talking about circumcision and conversion almost every day. One day, he beat up Rachna a lot. Shortly later, two men came home.
Rachna says that initially, they were polite and were trying to convince her for conversion and circumcision, arguing that Islam is the best religion for anyone to follow and that no one would accept her kids in their society if they did not undergo circumcision.
“They said that the children would never get married without that ritual. They said Ikrar loved me a lot and he had done all this out of his love for me,” Rachna told Swarajya.
She says she told them she would not change her religion. She dismissed all their arguments. For the circumcision, she said a firm no.
To the man who was repeatedly saying conversion was important, Rachna asked, “Who are you?”
The man replied, “I am Ikrar’s father.”
Rachna said, “But Amit told me his father died many years ago. Did he lie to me? Did you all lie to me? Was this all a fraud? Today, you have popped up out of nowhere. Tomorrow, more members will pop up.”
Rachna says she threatened that she would go to the police. Ikrar’s father threatened her saying he would chop her and kids to pieces and throw them somewhere in a suitcase, she says.
When the situation got worse, arguments became heated and the voice turned loud, neighbours started gathering at the spot. The two men left.
Rachna says his incident took place on 1 July 2019.
On 3 July, she reached the office of Senior Superitendent of Police in Agra, where an officer asked her about the nearest police station from the site of the crime. It was Sikandra police station. She was asked to go to there and register her complaint.
Rachna says that from there, she was sent to Jagdishpura police station. Still, her complaint was not turned into an FIR.
“The police said it was a matter between a husband and a wife and that there was no case. If I did not want to live with him, I should go to court for separation. It was not a matter for the police, they told me,” says Rachna.
Soon came the lockdown.
Rachna says she did not stop seeking justice. She went to the state women’s commission for help. There she met an employee named Raju Khan, who assured her he would help her file a case at Loha Mandi police station, but did not act on his word. “He made me run from one office to another. But nothing happened. I now think he was trying to break me so no case was ever registered,” says Rachna.
When she realized that nothing was happening with her complaint, she went to Lucknow for the ‘Janta Darbar’ but in vain. She says it was not held properly at that time because of Covid-19.
On 6 June 2022, she again went to Lucknow for the same ‘Janta Darbar’. There, she says, “an IPS officer” took her application and asked her for details. She told him everything she had been through over the past three years.
The officer assured her that this time, her case would get filed and she would get justice. The police officer called her on 16 June, saying that after preliminary investigation, her case had been found fit for an FIR.
Next, Jagdishpura station house officer Devendra Shankar Pandey called her up and asked her to bring an application the next day. When she went, she saw that the police had called Amit Alias Ikrar to the police station as well.
Both sides recorded their statements.
Rachna says that when she started for home, Amit came to her and said, “Kal tak to tujhe kaat ke fek dunga kahi suitcase me. Tu likhwaegi mukadma fir? (By tomorrow, I will cut you off and throw you somewhere in a suitcase. Will you get a case filed then?)”
She says she confronted SHO Pandey as Ikrar had made the threat in front of him. SHO Pandey ordered his immediate arrest, says Rachna.
On 18 June, the FIR was finally registered against Ikrar and his family members.
Rachna says that before she went to the police in 2019, she had begun to live separately from Ikrar. Her family supported her.
Rachna gives tuition classes and stitches clothes to make an income.
Swarajya checked Ikrar’s Facebooks account, as shared by Rachna. It says he works for Mamaearth cosmetics and is a salesman. Rachna says his “English is good” and “that is why he gets good jobs”.
Now she says, “I want the strictest punishment possible for him. He cheated me. He ruined my life with his lies,” she says.
(The report was first published in Swarajya here)
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