The much-touted first anti-love jihad case in Gujarat has fallen flat. Filed on June 17 by a zealous Vadodara Police within two days of the legislation coming into force, it has been challenged by none other than the complainant herself asserting that a family dispute had been made a forced religious conversion case.
Within a few days of the FIR being lodged at the Gotri Police Station in Vadodara on June 17, Neha (name changed to protect identity) submitted an affidavit in a local court expressing shock that a family dispute was given a so-called love jihad twist and she was not even aware that her FIR would be altered like this.
Two months later, on August 19, the Gujarat High Court stayed certain provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021, stating that it infringed on an individual’s constitutional right to practice a religion and marry a person of his or her choice.
It was around the same time, Neha moved a petition in the Gujarat High Court seeking to quash her original FIR against her husband and in-laws, and soon she and her husband moved the same petition. They stated that it was not a love jihad case but a dispute within themselves and the family, which had been settled and wanted the FIR to be quashed.
Following this petition, her husband Sameer Qureshi who was in judicial custody for four months could get bail on October 13, 2021, through a Gujarat High Court order. It is now a matter of days when the court would take a call on quashing the entire FIR.
What is more startling is another case that was glossed over in the hype of the Vadodara “first love jihad case” of a Muslim man’s plea in Khambhat in Anand district on June 16 exactly a day after the new law was enforced.
Mohammad Saiyed’s application before the Khambhat police alleging that his daughter went missing on June 16 and he had information that she was converted into Hinduism was not taken. Eventually, he moved the Gujarat High Court alleging that his FIR under the anti-love jihad law was not being registered by the Khambhat police who only made an entry in the station diary, without lodging any FIR. Justice Ilesh Vora asked the government to get details in the case and posted the matter for hearing on October 27.
When contacted, Anand DSP Ajit Rajyan told Vibes of India, “We looked into the case. Both the man and the woman are staying together on their own free will and neither has converted each other’s religion. There is no prima facie case as such to attract provisions of the religion law. But we will go according to the orders of the high court.”
However, a police officer, requesting anonymity, said, “This was found later, but when the poor father got worried and filed an FIR, it should have been taken. There should not have been a need for him to move the high court. That shows the attitude. In the case of the Vadodara girl, a domestic violence issue was given the colour of love jihad but this was not done in Khambhat, since the man happens to be a Hindu and the girl a Muslim”.