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Tikaram Rathone arrested convert woman to Islam for marry him in Uttar Pradesh

Love jihad, Indian man arrested for trying to convert Islam'

A Muslim man was arrested by police in northern India for allegedly attempting to convert a Hindu woman to Islam, under a controversial new law that ignited widespread outrage and protest.

The 21-year-old student was arrested in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, just days after the state passed the law targeting "love jihad" a phrase used by extremist Hindu groups accusing Muslim men of seeking to convert women of other faiths to Islam.

A protester in Bangalore in response to proposed legislation against 'Love Jihad.'
A protester in Bangalore in response to proposed legislation against 'Love Jihad.'

Uttar Pradesh enacted Saturday's anti-conversion rule, which makes "forced" or "fraudulent" religious conversions a non-bailable crime with a maximum 10-year prison term.

A marriage would be considered null and void" if the woman's conversion is for that reason only. Those who wish to change their religion after marriage must apply to top district authorities.

A man named Tikaram Rathone filed a complaint to police the same day the law came into effect, alleging that the male student was trying to compel his 20-year-old Hindu daughter, married, to convert to Islam and marry him.

Rathore alleged the man had formed a school friendship with his daughter and wanted to turn her into "coerce, coax and allure"

"Despite constant disapproval from me and my family, he (the accused) is putting pressure on us through abuse and death threats," Rathore said in his complaint.

Police in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district reported the man's arrest on Wednesday via Facebook.

Critics called Islamophobic, illegal, and regressive rule. Many are afraid that it will lead to violence and harassment, and the legislation will make marriage in the country more difficult for interfaith couples.

Other states—including Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, and Assam—announced plans to follow Uttar Pradesh and enact similar laws.

The laws of 'Love Jihad' triggered protests in India.

The ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governs all five states, facing allegations of perpetuating anti-Muslim sentiment.

Previously, the BJP, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fired for similar rules. Last year, Himachal Pradesh's BJP-ruled state amended its anti-conversion law banning conversion through misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage. It also levied non-bailable sentences for the crime.

BJP critics say religious polarization has increased since Modi took power in 2014. Hindu-Muslim marriages have long drawn controversy in India—but tensions have rebounded in recent months, with the idea of "love jihad" sweeping headlines.

In October, Tanishq, the famous jewelry company, ran an advertisement featuring an interfaith couple—a Hindu woman and a Muslim. After right-wing Indians accused them of spreading "love jihad" and trolled them heavily online, the company pulled the ad, claiming it feared its employees' "well being"

In November, Netflix was accused of doing the same after its TV series "A Suitable Boy" featured a scene where a Hindu woman and a Muslim man shared a kiss in front of a Hindu temple. Narottam Mishra, member of BJP and home minister of Madhya Pradesh state, said the scene hurt "religious sentiments" and directed officials to investigate legal action against producer and director of the series.

The Uttar Pradesh Police has registered its first case under the newly-implemented Love Jihad law, accusing a Muslim man of trying to forcibly convert a Hindu girl.
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