6 held under anti-conversion law in UP

A cleric and a barber are among six, who have been booked under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 for surreptitiously conducting the circumcision ceremony of two minor boys, below 12 years old.

The incident took place on Saturday in Shahbad area of Rampur.

Members of the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) came to know of the ceremony and accompanied police to the house of one Mahfooz, a truck driver. His parents and the barber were arrested. A hunt is on for the others.

According to additional SP (ASP) Sansar Singh, the boys’ mother, a non-Muslim resident of Uttarakhand, had lost her husband, a truck driver, in a road accident last month. She recently moved in with Mahfooz, a bachelor, and his family at Bairua village in Shahbad area.

She changed her name to Gulistaan.

The ASP said, “The FIR in this case has been registered by us as the boys are minors and their conversion was against the law, so we took cognizance after coming to know about the incident.

“We have booked Mahfooz, his parents, his brother-in-law who organized the ceremony, the cleric who conducted the conversion ceremony and the barber who performed the circumcision.”

They have been booked under IPC section 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) along with provisions of the Prohibition of the Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2020.

The provisions of the Act require individuals seeking to convert and religious convertors (who perform the conversion) to submit an advance declaration of the proposed religious conversion to the district magistrate. Thereupon, the district magistrate must conduct a police inquiry into the intention, purpose, and cause of the proposed conversion. However, in this case, the norms were not followed.