Lucknow- Fifty-four persons have so far been arrested under the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion law, 2020, which was implemented a month ago.
According to official sources, the Uttar Pradesh Police have lodged 16 FIRs, booked 86 people and arrested 54 of them ever since the law came into force.
Thirty-one accused persons are yet to be arrested.
The maximum number of 26 people were booked in Etah under the provisions of new law –14 of them in a single case.
A senior police official said most of the FIRs were lodged on the complaints of family members of the women, allegedly kidnapped for forced conversion.
“On the directives of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, clear instructions were issued to the police to act against forced religious conversions. In many cases, people were unaware of the new law and the police counselled the parents of the girl and the boy, willing for an inter-faith marriage, to seek permission of the magistrate before conversion,” the official said.
In the past one month, two FIRs each were lodged in Bijnor and Shahjahanpur and one each in Firozabad, Etah, Bareilly, Moradabad, Kannauj, Hardoi, Sitapur, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Azamgarh, Mau and Gautam Buddha Nagar.
In Etah district, a local businessman had lodged a case at Jalesar police station against Mohammed Javed for kidnapping and unlawfully converting a Hindu woman to Islam. Police arrested 14 members of Javed’s family while 12 others, including the main accused, are still on the run.
In another case in Mau, an FIR was lodged on December 3 at the Chiraiyakot police station against 16 people under the new law.
Shabab Khan a. k. a. Rahul and 13 of his acquaintances were booked for kidnapping.
Police said that Khan, who is already married, and his associates, allegedly abducted a 27-year-old woman on the eve of her wedding on November 30 with the intent to convert her for marriage. later, eight persons were arrested while eight others were at large. At least 12 people in Etah, eight in Mau, five in Shahjahanpur, four in Saharanpur and one each in Sitapur and Muzaffarnagar are still absconding.