The police in Madhya Pradesh filed the first case under the state’s new ‘anti-love jihad’ law after a 22-year-old girl from Barwani district accused a 25-year-old married man of physically assaulting her for refusing to marry him and convert to Islam.
The accused, Sohail Mansoori, is a truck driver and a part-time DJ artist. He met the woman while playing DJ music four years ago at a wedding gathering.
“As per the woman’s complaint, the accused was sexually exploiting her. He told the woman he was from her community. Later he started forcing her to marry him and convert to his community, after which the woman filed a complaint,” Rajesh Yadav, the inspector in charge of the Barwani station, said.
Sohail Mansuri has been booked under Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020 and IPC sections 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 294 (obscene act).
The ordinance that penalizes religious conversions by fraudulent means came into force less than two weeks ago and provides for jail terms up to 10 years and fine of up to 50,000.
Last month, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had announced that stringent action would be taken against those who plot religious conversion or does anything like ‘love jihad.’
However, ‘love jihad’ is a term not recognized by the Centre. In February last year, the home ministry had told parliament that the term was “not defined in law” and that central agencies had not identified any such cases.