Even as the dominant liberal discourse continues to aggressively try to discredit all voices that speak up against the predatory targetting of women for conversions to Islam, such cases continue to emerge at an alarming pace. The unfortunate victims of such targetting are often minor girls.
Last week, a 14-year-old Hindu girl from Hapur district of western Uttar Pradesh was lured into eloping by a man, who initiated her into Islam within two days. On the fourth day when the Hapur police raided the house she was kept in and rescued her, the girl told the cops that she had recited the kalma the previous night and was ready for nikah with him.
The girl has been reunited with her family, where she is currently being counselled.
Hapur superitendent of police (SP) Neeraj Kumar Jadon told Rashtra Jyoti that the kidnapper, Mohammed Jahid, has been booked under the recently enacted anti-forced conversion law, besides other charges including rape.
A press note issued by Hapur police on 30 July after Jahid’s arrest:
The girl is a resident of Baroda Sihani village, which falls under Hafizpur police station. The village has about 90 percent of population as Muslims, mostly from Rajput castes, while the minority Hindu population comprises of backward and scheduled castes. The girl belongs to Gadaria caste, considered backward. The caste group has all of six houses in the village
She went missing on the afternoon of 26 July. For two days, her family searched for her, taking cues from neighbours. On the night of 28 July, they finally went to the police.
SP Jadon said the distressed family met him straightaway at his office, rather than go to the nearest police station. The police found the girl the next day at Noida, about 50 kilometres away.
The family had named the key suspect as Mohammed Jahid, after inquiring from neighbours. Interrogation with the family led the cops to Noida. The police found that Jahid’s father Israr was absconding too.
A first information report (FIR) for kidnapping, naming Jahid, his father and Jahid’s two brothers, was filed the same day the girl was rescued (number 148/2021 at Hafizpur police station).
Screenshots of the FIR:
Surendra Singh, station house officer of Hafizpur police station, told Rashtra Jyoti that Jahid and the girl were found staying in a rented accommodation in Noida’s Chhajarsi village. Singh, however, declined to share more information and said that details such as how the couple found a rented place so soon are under investigation.
SP Jadon said that the girl, in her statement to the police recorded under section 161 of the CrPC, said that Jahid made her recite the kalma. He also told her that they would get married as per Islamic rituals on 30 July. The girl is yet to record her statement before the judicial magistrate (under section 164 of the CrPC). SHO Singh said that it is expected to be done on 2 or 3 August.
Her medical examination has been done. An investigating officer said the report says ‘hymen torn’, which points to rape. Accordingly, sections of rape (IPC 376) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences have been added. As the girl is a minor, Jahid has also been booked under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020.
The girl has dropped out of school. Jahid, who is about 21, runs an e-rickshaw for a living although his family is one of the financially better ones in the village, Jadon said.
The e-rickshaw stand in the village is located near the girl’s house.
The girl lost her parents many years ago. She is being raised by her grandparents. Her uncle (father’s elder brother) lives next door.
A local of Hapur visited the family on this portal’s request. Jwala Singh, brother of the girl’s grandfather, said that her parents died of illnesses. She has an elder brother and a younger sister. They showed her Aadhaar card, where her year of birth is mentioned as 2007. Both sisters are out of school.
Jwala Singh said the family is poor and relies on farming for a living. He said they have received no benefits under the government’s various schemes other than ration.
The family however declined to speak further on the matter, saying they don’t wish to escalate it. Jwala Singh said that he would not pursue the legal case against the accused as his community is in majority in the area.
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