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India Police Makes First Arrest Under New ‘Love Jihad’ Law

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Arrest

Police in Uttar Pradesh India, have arrested a Muslim man for allegedly trying to convert a Hindu woman to Islam, Yahoo news reports.

He’s the first to be arrested under a new anti-conversion law that targets ‘love jihad’ a term radical Hindu groups use to accuse Muslim men of converting Hindu women by marriage.

The law has prompted outrage with critics calling it Islamophobic and at least four other Indian states are drafting laws against it.

Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district confirmed the arrest on Twitter on Wednesday, 2 December.

The woman’s father said that he filed a complaint because the man had put pressure on his daughter to convert and threatened her, the woman was allegedly in a relationship with the man but got married to someone else earlier this year.

The woman’s family had filed a kidnapping case against the accused a year ago but the case was closed after she was found and denied the charge.

After his arrest on Wednesday, the man was sent to 14 days of judicial custody but according to reports he claims he’s innocent and has no link with the woman.

The new law carries a jail term of up to 10 years and offences under it are non-bailable.

In November, Uttar Pradesh became the first state to pass a law against forced or fraudulent religious conversions.

Critics have called it regressive and offensive with many concerned that such laws will lead to misuse and harassment since ‘love jihad’ has always been seen as a term used by fringe right-wing radical Hindu groups.

But it has dominated headlines in the last few months, in October a popular jewellery brand withdrew an advertisement featuring an inter-faith couple after right-wing backlash accused them of promoting ‘love jihad’.

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