A case was registered on Thursday against 14 people under a recently introduced Uttar Pradesh law to punish forced religious conversions of women after interfaith marriage, the police said .

Superintendent of police Sushil Ghule said the case was registered on the basis of a complaint under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance-2020 at Chiraiyakot police station in Mau district.

The police said the complainant alleged that his 30-year-old daughter was kidnapped by a person he identified as Shabab Khan aka Rahul for religious conversion.

He filed the complaint against Shabab Khan and 13 of his acquaintances, stating that the wedding of his daughter had been scheduled for November 30 but on the eve of the marriage Khan kidnapped her with the intent of converting her religion. “Three teams have been deployed to arrest all the accused and recover the woman. We will soon get a breakthrough as we have some important clues,” Ghule, the superintendent of police of Mau, said.

Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel approved the ordinance promulgated by the state against forced and dishonest religious conversions on November 28. The first case under the new law was registered within hours against a Muslim man d in Bareilly the same night. He was arrested later. The ordinance has provisions to check religious conversions carried out by “allurement, coercion, force, fraud, or marriage.”

The state cabinet cleared the law earlier in November, targeting what many right-wing outfits term “love jihad”, which involves Muslim men marrying Hindu women with the aim of changing the latter’s religion after marriage. According to the ordinance, marriages with the intention of changing the woman’s religion will be declared null and void.

Under the provisions of the new law, the violation has been made a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

The new law provides for a jail term of up to 10 years in some cases for violators and treats forced conversions as a non-bailable offence.

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