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India, Pakistan battle conversion of women for marriage – National Herald

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The Lahore High Court too, while hearing the case of a 14-year-old girl who had converted, ruled that religion was a matter of conviction and the court could not adjudicate.

In both the countries, there have been cases in which subterfuge and allurements were used. Shamshad and Asif, from Meerut and Budaun, posed as Amit Gurjar and Rajkumar respectively to lure Priya and Neha. Both the women were killed when the truth came out.

But Muskan (Pinki) who married Rashid in Dehradun in July 2020 after informing the Superintendent of Police, Dehradun, as required by Uttarakhand’s Freedom of Religion Act 2018, was arrested with her husband when they visited Moradabad. Muskan was pregnant and she alleged that she lost her baby during police beating.

In the last two months, 86 persons have been booked in 16 first information reports (FIRs) since the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, was notified in Uttar Pradesh. Out of the 86 people booked, 79 are Muslims and all of them are booked under similar offences—enticing a woman and forcing her to convert to Islam.

In one case, 26 people, including five women, were booked in Etah for allegedly forcibly converting a 21-year-old woman. In Mau, 16 people were booked under one FIR whereas in Sitapur, 14 were booked in one FIR.

In Pakistan, “in the absence of legislation explicitly banning and criminalizing forced conversion, affected families (mainly young Hindu and Christian girls’ parents/ guardians) have to use laws against kidnapping/abduction, forced marriage, child marriage and rape of minors to penalize the offender,” says Tahira Abdullah, a social activist.

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