Nisha Singh (name changed to protect identity, surname intact) got engaged for marriage in November. It was an alliance arranged by her mother and grandfather. Nisha’s father had passed away a decade ago.
She told us that she met the prospective groom, who is from her caste, twice before saying yes and was looking forward to beginning a new life with him.
Two weeks later, her fiancé confronted her. He showed her pictures and videos of her with another man. The visuals were intimate and private, and embarrassed Nisha.
However, much to her relief, he did not break the alliance. He offered her time to explain and tackle the situation.
Days later, Nisha, supported by her family, went to the police station and got a case of rape and intimidation filed against her ‘stalker’, who had sent her fiancé the visuals through WhatsApp.
Nisha is a resident of Ghanshyam Nagar Patti in Baraut town of Baghpat district in western Uttar Pradesh. She completed her graduation last year and is about 21 years of age.
Her statement recorded in the first information report (number 1208/2021), filed at Baraut police station on 12 December, names one Mohammed Shakir as accused.
The statement says that when Nisha was still in Class 11 and a minor, a man named Mohammed Shakir began following her on her way to school. He was persistent and eventually got talking. Over time, they entered into a relationship.
Shakir secretly filmed her during their sexual acts. When she found out that he was a Muslim and had lied about his name, she told her family about it. They went to the house of Shakir, who is also a resident of Baraut.
Shakir’s sister Gulfasa hurled abuses at them and asked them to leave. Shakir has since been blackmailing her with the visuals, threatening to circulate them if she doesn’t continue to make sexual relations with him.
The police booked Shakir under IPC sections 354D (stalking a woman), 328 (causing hurt), 376 (rape), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (insult and provocation) and 506 (criminal intimidation) as well as section 67(a) of the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008.
When these correspondents called up the Baraut police station, a person said Shakir had been arrested. The cop declined to speak further, saying the police had released a media statement.
The verified Twitter account of Baraut police posted the press statement, along with a picture of Shakir after arrest, on 16 December. The statement showed that sections of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012) have been added to the case.
Nisha told us over the phone that her wedding had been postponed and she feared that it would eventually get cancelled. She, however, said she was relieved that she could finally tell the police about her stalker.
Nisha said that when she met Shakir, he introduced himself as ‘Shivam’. He never told her much about his family and she did not press for the details either. When she found out that he was Muslim, she tried to break up with him, knowing well that the relation would be unacceptable to her family.
Nisha is the youngest of all siblings — all girls. All her elder sisters are married. Her grandfather, who works as a security guard, provides for the family. She and her mother live with him, in an accommodation provided by his employer.
Nisha says that when the couple argued about the break-up, she asked him if he would approve of his sister Gulfasa “eloping” with a Hindu man. Nisha says Shakir got angry at the suggestion, and even threatened to hit her.
Nisha says she decided to move on.
Another Case That Follows The ‘Love Jihad’ Pattern
This case is yet another in a long list of cases where a non-Muslim woman has accused a Muslim man of trapping her by posing as a Hindu. Though in this case, the woman has not accused Shakir of trying to get her religion changed to Islam, several other cases feature such allegations.
The state police add sections of The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion in such cases. From January to August this year, a total of 77 cases were filed under this new Act — an average of one case every three days.
Activists and victim families from Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Buddhist communities in India routinely use the term ‘love jihad’ for such cases. Several women have identified themselves as victims of ‘love jihad’. Islamist groups, with allies in the media and human rights lobbies, however, insist that ‘love jihad’ is a figment of imagination and, in fact, is a manifestation of ‘Islamophobia’.]
(The report was first published on Swarajya.com).