Thursday, November 30, 2023

First case filed under anti-conversion law in Karnataka

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According to police, a 24-year-old Muslim man has been detained and placed in judicial custody for allegedly converting a woman under the pretext of getting married under the recently enacted Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act. This is the first case under the new law, which was notified on September 30.

“On October 13, we filed a FIR in accordance with Section 5 of the Act and detained Syed Mueen, a resident of northern Bengaluru’s BK Nagar neighbourhood. The family of the girl claimed that he had forcibly converted their 19-year-old daughter to Islam on the promise of marriage, according to Vinayak Patil, deputy commissioner of police (north), who works at our station.

According to Section 5 of the law, anyone who violates the provisions of Section 3 (Prohibition of conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, fraud, or by the promise of marriage) shall, without prejudice to any civil liability, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term of three years, but which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to a fine of 25,000.

The girl’s family is from Uttar Pradesh, and the police say they have been in Bengaluru for the last ten years. Her mother is a stay-at-home mom, while her father was a city painter.

“The mother reported her child missing on October 5, and that was the first complaint to be made. The girl returned home on October 8. She went to the police and said that she had chosen to marry. She did, however, claim that after being married to him, she converted to Islam and alerted her family and the police. The mother then filed a case alleging forced conversion, according to a Yashwantpura police station employee.

The investigation, the officer said, showed that Mueen escorted the girl to a dargah in Penukonda, Andhra Pradesh, where the religious rite for conversion was conducted.

According to Section 4 of the Act, any converted person, his parents, brother, sister, or any other person who is related to him by blood, marriage, or adoption, or in any other way associated with or colleague, may lodge a complaint about such conversion. As a result, we have registered a case based on the mother’s complaint. As a result, we followed the law, the official declared.

Although the girl denied being forced to convert, the officer emphasised that under the law, anybody wishing to change their faith must notify the district magistrate or the extra district magistrate at least 30 days in advance.

The statute will not be relevant if the conversion occurred outside of the state, according to attorney BT Venkatesh. The burden of demonstrating this has now been placed on the accused by the police and family, too.

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