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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Grooming jihad and rape: Irfan Qureshi, his mother, sister, brother-in-law and a local maulvi arrested

Another case of grooming jihad has been reported from Madhya Pradesh (MP). Irfan Qureshi who pretended to be Rahul Dubey, groomed a young Hindu girl, kidnapped, raped, and converted her to Islam, and ‘married’ her but was finally caught by the police and is now behind bars.

Initially, the police arrested only Qureshi and refused to detain others involved in the crime. But after protests by locals, a total of 6 people, including Qureshi’s family members and a local maulvi, have been arrested. This incident took place in Mandla, Narsinghpur district.  

Qureshi met the Hindu girl while traveling on a train. He introduced himself as Rahul and they exchanged phone numbers and started ‘talking.’ He groomed the girl from Gadarwara in Narsinghpur district and convinced her to elope. 

On March 2, Qureshi arrived at Gadarwara in his car and the two began their journey. The victim found an identity card that showed his original name but by then they were far from her home. Though the girl resisted, Qureshi abducted her and took her to his brother-in-law’s place at Waraseoni in Balaghat district, and forced the victim to stay there that day. 

By then, the victim’s family filed a missing person complaint at the Gadarwara police station. The next day, Qureshi took the girl with him to his house in Mandla. His family had meanwhile arranged a cleric who came and converted her to Islam and ‘married’ her to Qureshi.

On March 8, the police discovered that the girl was in Mandla and she was rescued. Based on the complaint of the girl, the police registered a case against Qureshi, his mother, sister and his brother-in-law. A case was also registered against a friend of Qureshi named Nadeem and the maulvi. 

Narsinghpur Superintendent of Police, Vipul Srivastava informed that all six accused have been charged under various sections for kidnapping to compel a marriage, wrongful confinement, rape, and criminal intimidation. Police have added sections under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021 related to forced conversion that makes such marriages null and void. The rule mandates religious priests to inform the authority before organizing any conversion ceremony, something that the Islamic cleric intentionally avoided.

Angry locals hit the streets in protest. Several Hindu organizations including the Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Karni Sena submitted a memorandum regarding the grooming jihad incident. They have asked the authorities to ensure strict punishment for the accused. Since most sections are non-bailable, the accused were remanded and sent to jail. 

Qureshi has a history of violence and has been to jail previously. Back in 2020, following a minor dispute, he used a knife and cut off a local Sindhi youth’s thumb over a petty dispute regarding the flying of kites. But how long this dangerous criminal, his family and the maulvi remain in jail is doubtful, given the judiciary’s propensity to go soft on such crimes, the well-oiled Islamist network and the availability of top ‘secular’ lawyers to defend them.

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