The Madhya Pradesh police have arrested a man named Shamim Khan for sexually assaulting and trying to forcibly convert a minor girl, who belongs to the Hindu community.
As per the survivor, her mother is in an affair with Shamim, who was her employer.
The mother once took the girl to another city to briefly stay with Shamim, where he tried to molest the girl. On another occasion, Shamin barged into the girl’s house when she was alone and tried to rape her, besides forcing her to convert to his religion.
The First Information Report (FIR) in the case (number 807/2022) was registered at Bina Police Station of Sagar district on 11 November 2022. The complainant was the survivor, who is 17 years of age.
The complaint says that she lives with her father, mother and brother in Gandhi ward of Bina. She studies in Class 10.
Her mother used to work at the house of Shamim as a cook. A year ago, her mother went to Bhopal with Shamim and took the girl along. The mother-daughter returned home after a few days. While in Bhopal, Shamin molested the girl.
Earlier this month, on 4 November 2022, while the girl was alone at home, Shamim barged into her house.
He told the girl that her mother had called for her and she must leave. Shamin held her hand, touched her inappropriately and began asking her to convert to Islam and go with him. When the girl began shouting, he left the house.
The girl was in fear and hence did not complain against Shamim immediately, but a few days later, she told everything to her father and her brother.
It was then that she came to the police station to lodge an FIR against Shamim, the complaint concludes.
Based on this statement, the police booked Shamim under IPC sections 364 (kidnapping) and 457 (trespassing house), sections 7 and 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offense (POCSO) Act and sections 3 and 5 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021.
It’s pertinent to note that Madhya Pradesh’s Freedom of Religion Act, 2021, was enacted in March last year, just three months after the state cabinet cleared the bill.
Before Madhya Pradesh, the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh had enacted similar laws to punish forced religious conversions, especially through marriage.
For this reason, these laws are sometimes loosely called ‘love Jihad’ laws, where ‘love Jihad’ is a name coined by Christian groups in Kerala, more than decade ago, to a pattern of men from the Muslim community targeting Christian women for their conversion through marriages.
Over time, the term has begun to be used by several religious communities including Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists and Tribal groups. These communities use the term not only for religious conversion of women through nikah, but also sexual assault on them.
What The Police Say
The correspondent called up the Bina police station in-charge on 27 November, by taking the contact number from the police website. The officer said that the accused, Shamim, was arrested on the same day the FIR was lodged, that is on 11 November.
This correspondent also called up the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case, who refused to share any details related to this case. She said that to get the details, this correspondent must get a court order for it.
She disconnected the call after this. The IO did not share her name as well. This correspondent had taken her number from the FIR.
What The Victim Says
The girl, who belongs to the Raikwar jaati (it comes under other backward castes), narrated to this correspondent, the background of the Bhopal assault as well as the recent assault.
She said that her mother Anju (name changed), following a heated argument with her father last year, packed her bags and left home. Anju reached the girl’s school and told her they were leaving Bina right away.
Anju told the girl that they were going to her aunt’s place in Khurai, which is about 50 km from Sagar. To the girl’s surprise, Shamim accompanied them on this trip.
After reaching their destination, the girl learnt that instead of Khurai, they had come to Bhopal, and instead of staying at a relative’s house, they were going to rent a place in Bhopal and live with Shamim.
The girl told this correspondent that she was not comfortable with this development, but could not immediately protest.
Anju and Shamim rented a single room with a kitchen slab in a corner.
“I was not able to understand what was going on,” the girl told this correspondent, “Shamim would do bad things with my mother that I cannot explain in words.”
While talking to this correspondent, the girl murmured that she could not speak in front of her father and was going out of the house to talk.
After a minute, she resumed, “The days would somehow pass, but the nights were particularly worse. Shamim would sleep next to my mother. He touched her inappropriately, but she would laugh at it. I pretended to fall asleep, but I could hear everything.”
After two-three days, the girl told her mother she wanted to go back to her house in Bina. The next day, Shamim dropped her at the railway station from where she returned home.
Asked if her mother tried to stop her, the girl said, “Yes, but I didn’t want to be there anymore.”
When she was in Bhopal, Shamin tried touching her inappropriately, the girl says. “There was something wrong with the way he looked at me. I could sense something was wrong with him, hence I left in a rush.”
She says she told this to her mother, but Anju did not listen to her.
At this point, the girl’s father took the phone from her. He told this correspondent, “This month, when I was out for work, Shamim came to my house. My daughter was alone at home. Shamim barged into my house and tried molesting my daughter.”
He continued, “I have had arguments with my wife in the past over her and Shamim. I know what is going on between them. But how can I allow him to do the same with my daughter?”
He added, “Shamim asked my daughter to convert to Islam and go with him. I am a simple man with a simple family, but want to live a respectable life. I will not allow that harami [bastard] to ruin the life of my daughter.”
He said he was a driver by profession, while his wife used to cook food in the nearby houses to supplement family income. His children, both the son and the daughter, study at a government school.
A few years ago, Anju was hired by Shamim’s wife as a cook. Shamim is already married, and is a government servant, he said.
“That’s how Shamim met Anju. One of his friends lived next to our house. After Anju was employed at his house, Shamim began visiting our colony regularly. I always feared something like this would happen.”
He added, “I mostly remain out due to my work. I don’t know if he came to my house in my absence.”
A local activist who is helping the family in the legal case told this correspondent that Shamim runs a Youtube Channel named ‘SKB Films Production’ that posts musical videos with Bollywood songs in the background.
This correspondent accessed the channel and found that almost every video is a love story featuring Shamim as ‘hero’, some of them with bindi and sari-clad women.
The activist also directed this correspondent to Shamim’s Twitter account where the first tweet shows a porn clip of him with Anju that appears to have been recorded with her knowledge.
The activist said that Shamim had uploaded many porn videos of him and Anju, but had deleted the rest. He said he was on possession of several such clips, and they would be used in the legal case.
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