Tue 19 January 2021:
Out of 85 people who have been prosecuted under the law so far, 79 are Muslims, while others belong to the Christian community
A petition has been filed in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court by the Legal Aid Committee of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, seeking to quash cases registered against innocent people including two women. They have been arrested in the name of “Love jihad” from Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh. The Jamiat has sought their immediate release from jail.
The petition says that the Uttar Pradesh government is harassing Muslims in the name of Love Jihad, and violating the fundamental rights provided by Indian Constitution. The petition is likely to be heard on Tuesday or Wednesday, said Gulzar Azmi, head of Jamiat Ulama Maharashtra Legal Aid Committee, from Mumbai.
Azmi said that the families of the accused had sought legal help from President, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Maulana Arshad Madani. “We approached the High Court for the release of the accused, and filed a petiton for the release of the accused,” he said. The petition by Advocate Arif Ali, Advocate Mujahid Ahmad and Advocate Furqan Khan states that by taking undue advantage of its powers, the government was harassing Muslims in the name of love jihad, and depriving them of their fundamental rights provided by the Constitution.
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Maulana Madani, while reacting strongly to the law brought under the guise of the so-called Love Jihad to restrict religious freedom in some states, said: “The legislation is against the guiding principles of the Constitution of India, and it is an attack on the freedom and sovereignty of the citizens while the Constitution not only gives full religious freedom to every citizen of the country but also gives them full freedom to express their likes and dislikes.”
He said that at the time of making the law, it was claimed that it would be applied equally to all, and no one would be discriminated against, but in an important state like Uttar Pradesh, this unconstitutional law is being used against a particular community. He further said that the affidavit filed by the Uttar Pradesh government in Allahabad High Court in a similar case recently is a mirror of this sad truth. According to the affidavit, out of the 85 people who have been prosecuted under the law so far, 79 are Muslims, while others belong to the Christian community.
Maulana Madani also said that newspaper reports show that in Uttar Pradesh, especially in such cases, if the boy is a Hindu, police do not even register a complaint despite all the efforts of the girl’s family. Instead the police provide protection to the couples.
He further said that such incidents are enough to show that the law is being used against minorities and especially Muslims. The Sitapur incident is an example of this in which housewives have also been arrested and imprisoned while they did not commit any crime.
Maulana Madani said that this is a case of injustice and serious violation of human rights. Therefore, the Jamiat has decided to seek legal action against this. Meanwhile, the Jamiat has also become an intervener in the second petition challenging the law in the Supreme Court.
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