Twelve years after marrying ‘Pooja’ and starting a family with her, Jagveer Kori is fighting pressure from her and her family for converting to Islam after learning that Pooja is actually Haseena Bano.
This bizarre but shocking case has come to light from Ayodhya district of Uttar Pradesh at a time when an alarming number of Hindu women are similarly filing cases against Muslim men of trapping them in relationship and marriages using a fraudulent identity.
Based on Jagveer complaint, the Ayodhya police have booked his wife and her family for forced conversion and assault as well as atrocity on a member of a scheduled caste as Jagveer belonged to a Dalit caste.
Jagveer told Swarajya that he is in a state of shock. “My marriage has turned out to be a big lie. My wife, who claimed she was an orphan, has a big Muslim family. She is not Pooja but Haseena Bano. They all have forcibly made my son undergo circumcision,” he said.
So far, the police have arrested Haseena’s brother Nasir Ahmad.
Jagveer’s statement in the FIR
The first information report (FIR) in the case was registered at Ayodhya Kotwali on 18 September 2022. It has been accessed by Swarajya (FIR number is 403/2022).
The statement by Jasveer says that 12 years ago, his brother-in-law Ram Janam arranged his marriage with a woman.
He went on to have two children from this marriage. After some years, all of a sudden, his wife started following Islamic customs. She began to do namaz at home and visit mazars (graves) for worship. When he opposed it, she would become violent.
On 12 August 2022, when he returned home from work, he saw Pooja was doing namaz and forcing their children to do the same. Some people were sitting on the bed near them. When he asked Pooja about them, she said they were her parents and siblings.
A man introduced himself as Amanat Ullah. He pointed towards a woman sitting next to him, saying she was his wife.
Pointing towards another woman, he said she was his daughter Sakeena. Now pointing at Pooja, he said she was his second daughter, Haseena Bano.
Jagveer was shocked to listen to all of this. The group said that if he wanted to continue with his marriage, he must convert to Islam and become Muslim.
When he refused, they all started threatening him. The next day, that is on 13 August, a man named Raju alias Nisar Ahmad came to his house. Pooja was calling him her brother. They all started forcing him to convert to Islam. When he refused again, they hurled casteist slurs at him and threatened to kill him.
Hearing noise, neighbours assembled in his house. Pooja began banging her head against a wall. They took her to a hospital. Jagveer accompanied them too.
After returning home, they resumed their demand that he should convert to Islam. The next day, Nisar came home again, this time to persuade Jagveer to convert.
When Jagveer remained adamant, Nisar forcibly took Jagveer’s children away with him with Haseena in tow. Amanat Ullah and his wife assaulted him. The family took away his documents and cash, along with the jewellery kept at home.
Next, he received phone calls from them. They said if Jagveer wanted his family back, he must convert to Islam. They threatened him with beheading.
Jagveer’s statement concludes here, after request from the police to offer him protection.
What the victim told Swarajya
This correspondent talked to Jagveer over the phone. He narrated the story of his wedding with Pooja in 2011.
That year, he and his brother-in-law Ram Janam were travelling for their work when they found a woman sobbing at Ayodhya railway station. She said she was an orphan, and very hungry. Asked about her whereabouts, she said she was from Pratapgarh.
Ram Janam and Jagveer offered her food, and brought her home for shelter. A few days later, they took her to Janam’s village where it was decided that Pooja would marry Jagveer.
Jagveer had started liking her by then.
Jagveer, who lost his father at an early age, informed his brothers about it. The couple gave an affidavit of their marriage in the local district court and started living together in Ayodhya in the Halkara Ka Purva area as husband and wife. Jagveer has his ancestral home there.
By profession, he is an electrician. After marriage, he rented a shop and began operating from there.
The next year, when Pooja was pregnant, he and Ram Janam decided that they should marry again in front of their relatives. Soon, they had a marriage as per Hindu customs. In the same year, their son was born.
They had their second child in December 2015.
“Everything was good until then. We were happy. Things changed in 2020,” he says, before beginning to narrate the unexpected turn of events in his life.
A friend of Jagveer told him that a man had begun visiting his house in his absence. One day, Jagveer faked his visit to work and caught the man red-handed. Pooja, in her defence, repeatedly said that the man was her brother Raju.
Jagveer did not believe her as he knew her as an orphan who had no family. Their relationship turned sour. They began to have arguments every other day.
One day, Raju came home in Jagveer’s presence and told him that he would bring his family to meet him and clarify the matter. Raju said he was from Thakur caste and Pooja was very much his sister.
A woman, introducing herself as Pooja’s mother, did come home a few days later as promised. However, Jagveer found her clothing and manners out of place, he says.
Nevertheless, things went normal again. Pooja started visiting her parents’ house in Pratapgarh every other month. She would be accompanied by the children every time. Jagveer never went there.
To his surprise, Jagveer found out that Pooja had visited Pratapgarh earlier as well when he went out for work for some days at length.
There was a stark change in Pooja’s behaviour now. Her religious interests changed. She began visiting mazars instead of mandirs. One day, he came home to find her doing namaz with their children. The couple fought over it.
One day when he returned home from work, he saw a bearded man sitting with his mother-in-law. Pooja was again doing namaz with the children. The man told Jagveer that he was Amant Ullah.
“Everything was crystal clear to me now. Pooja belonged to a Mohammedan family. My mother-in-law was Mohammedan. Now they all began forcing me to convert to Islam. I somehow managed to make them leave my house.
After they were gone, I sat with Pooja, who I had just been told was Haseena Bano. I asked her to tell me the truth. She said she was indeed Haseena, daughter of Amanat Ullah. She told me that if I wished to live with her and their children any longer, I would have to accept Islam. It was mandatory,” Jagveer told Swarajya.
Jagveer says it was only then that he learnt that the family had got his son circumcised as per Islamic customs.
“She told me I would have to give a share of my property to her as she was my legal wife. She said that if I did not accept Islam, I must sell my house and give her her share of money. But if I converted, she would continue to live with me as my wife,” he adds.
From the next day, he started receiving calls from her family who made the same demands.
To his rescue, came the Coronavirus-related lockdown, he says. The visits of her family members stopped. Pooja was however still adamant on his conversion.
“I told her that I did not care if she was Muslim, but I was born into a Hindu family and would die as a Hindu,” he tells. Jagveer says he never spoke to anyone in his family about what was happening with him and his marriage.
Pooja now began to fight with him everyday, saying the only condition on which she would stay with him was his conversion. “She said she could not compromise on her religion and feared hellfire after death,” he says.
Jagveer tells he gave a complaint letter to the police after he was fed up with threats from his wife’s family.
“I do not understand what has happened to her. She used to visit temples with me. She would observe Hindu festivals of Navratri, Dussehra, Holi and Diwali. We had our daughter’s head-shaving ceremony as per Hindu customs,” he says.
He also shared some pictures from that ceremony with this correspondent. Listen to the victim’s statement here.
What the police told Swarajya
Rajeev Tiwari, Investigating Officer of the case from Ayodhya Kotwali, told Swarajya that Raju alias Nisar Ahmad had been arrested by the police after an encounter, in which he sustained bullet wounds in his leg.
He said the police were still investigating the case and the victim’s safety was a priority for them.
He said that based on Jagveer’s complaint, five people were identified as suspects, namely Raju alias Nisar Ahmad, Amanatulla, his wife, Sakeena and Pooja alias Haseena Bano.
They have all been booked under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentionally insulting), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 394 (robbery) with sections 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and sections 3 and 5(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021.
This report was first published at Swarajya, here.
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