MP: Married Muslim man held in first case under anti-‘love jihad’ law

By Express News Service
BHOPAL: In the first case under the new anti-‘love jihad’ law in Madhya Pradesh, a 25-year-old married man was arrested for sexually exploiting a 22-year-old girl in the Barwani district. 

The accused Sohail Mansoori alias Sunny is a truck driver and part time DJ player. He met the woman while playing DJ music four years back at a wedding function.

“As per the woman’s complaint, the accused was sexually exploiting her for a long time. He told the woman that he was from her community. Later he started forcing her to marry him and convert to his faith, after which the woman complained about the matter to Barwani Kotwali police station on Sunday. Since the entire case pertains to Pulsood police station, the case has been transferred there for further investigation,” the inspector in-charge of Barwani Kotwali Rajesh Yadav said.

A case was registered at Barwani Kotwali police station of Barwani district on Sunday under Section 376 (rape) 294, 323 (assault), 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC, and also under the provisions of MP Dharma Swatantreya Adhyadesh 2020. The case has been transferred for further investigations to Pulsood police station, Yadav added.

According to Barwani district police, the accused, also the father of a child, was arrested on Monday evening and will be produced before the court on Tuesday. 

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The woman has also alleged that the accused who introduced hhimself as Sunny (belonging to her community) to her four years back, also physically assaulted her when she refused to marry her and convert to her community.

This is the first case registered under the new MP Freedom of Religion 2020 Ordinance which came into force in the state on January 9. The law entails a punishment of one to 10 years in cases of forced conversion, which includes forced or fraudulent marriage by hiding one’s original religious identity.

As per the gazette notification, the “Ordinance provides freedom of religion by prohibiting conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, allurement, use of threat or force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any fraudulent means and for the matters connected therewith or incidentalthereto.”

Under the new law, forced conversion of a minor, woman, or person from SC/ST would lead to a punishment ranging between two and ten years and a minimum penalty of Rs 50,000.