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Saturday, April 13, 2024

18-year-old groomed for conversion and marriage since she was 15, raped by father-in-law and husband

An 18-year old girl who had converted to Islam to marry her Muslim boyfriend has levelled charges of rape against both her father-in-law and husband, and also states that her mother-in-law is pushing her into prostitution.

As per an Aaj Tak report, the girl has lodged an FIR in Aman Vihar police station in Rohini, Delhi. Her husband and father-in-law have been arrested.

As per police, the girl met Sohail when she was a minor studying in school and the two had been seeing each other for the last 3 years. Three  months back, she had converted to Islam and done a court marriage with Sohail in Tees Hazari court.

But three months after the marriage, the girl was raped by her father-in-law Shafiq. She has further  disclosed to police that she was raped last year too, when she was a minor of age 17, by her husband after he gave her a drugged substance at a party.

The police have claimed that it is not a matter of ‘love jihad’. But we can put this down to either obfuscation or ignorance of law enforcement around the whole issue of such ‘inter-faith’ relationships, aka grooming jihad.

While hiding their identity to lure girls into a relationship is a common practise among such groomers, they have also been known to stick to their real identity with the rest of the modus operandi remaining the same: entrap the minor/vulnerable girl; use a combination of emotional manipulation and outright blackmail using intimate pictures/videos; pretend to be irreligious or open-minded and promise to let the girl practise her birth religion post marriage; turn on the pressure for conversion once the girl is committed or post marriage.

Just recently, we had a case from Bhopal wherein a Hindu girl hanged herself after her Muslim boyfriend started pressurising her to convert for marriage, and left her when she resisted.

Interested readers can refer to this detailed first person account by a girl who fell in love at the age of 17 with a Muslim co-student, where she narrates how the relationship gradually changed from exhilarating to progressive demands on her to to submit to Islam.

This is why the UP anti-conversion law is such a welcome development in the country, as for the first time, it mandates that anyone planning to convert for marriage has to first prove to authorities that it is a genuine conversion, and any sort of undue influence or fraud on the converting party has been made punishable under the new law.

But to further curb such fraudulent and exploitative relationships, we strongly recommend that on the legal front, all marriages between inter-faith couples should set a minimum age of 25 for both bride and groom, and should only be registered under SMA (Special Marriage Act). On the social front, it is up to Hindu religious & social groups to educate families about the pitfalls of such relations.

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