UP anti-conversion law: Man held for forcing wife, kids to convert to Islam, say police

A man was arrested on Thursday under the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance in Thakurganj area Lucknow after a 35-year-old woman alleged “that her husband was forcing her to convert to Islam, and get their children circumcised”.

She also claimed that her husband “was forcing her to have physical relations with clerics in order to convert to Islam”, said SHO (Thakurganj) Sunil Kumar Dubey.

The couple – Vinita Vishwakarma (35) and Afzal Siddiqui (36) – reportedly got married in 2009 at an Arya Samaj temple and have two sons aged seven and five years, said police.

According to police, the woman alleged that her husband tried to kill her and also their children on Wednesday night by setting their room on fire after locking them inside. She added that Siddiqui had hidden his real identity before getting married and introduced himself as Rajiv. Police said they are probing the allegations.

The complaint lodged by the woman read, “This is regarding the attempt to kill me and my children by my husband. I had gotten married to someone named Rajiv in 2009 at an Arya Samaj temple in Aliganj area. Later, I got to know that my husband’s name is Afzal. He had lied to me before marriage and that he was an orphan. On Wednesday, he locked me inside a room along with my children and set the room on fire… I had a mobile, I called the emergency number and then fire officials rescued me and my children… My husband was also forcing my children to undergo circumcision, and was forcing me to have physical relations with clerics in order to convert.”

The FIR was lodged on Wednesday against Afzal, his parents, and unidentified clerics who were allegedly involved in “convincing the woman to convert”. Apart from the anti-conversion law, section 307 (attempt to murder) has been invoked against the accused.

Thakurganj SHO Sunil Kumar Dubey said, “We have lodged the case based on her complaint. She has also alleged that she was being forced to get her children circumcised, and she was against it. All the allegations levelled by the woman are being investigated.”

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