4 arrested for forcible conversion, marriage of 16-yr-old boy in UP

Kanpur (UP) May 25 (PTI) Police have arrested a 24-year-old woman, her parents and a Muslim cleric, accusing them of illegal confinement of a minor boy, his forcible religious conversion and marrying him to the woman, an official said on Wednesday.

The arrests were made after a video of the marriage went viral on social media. It also prompted members of right wing group Bajrang Dal to stage a protest at Kakadeo Police Station on Monday.

Two policemen, including the station house officer (SHO) of Kakadeo Police Station, were suspended on Tuesday for negligence in investigation, officials said.

Police sources said the boy and the woman came in contact through a popular social media platform and regularly chatted with each other.

Commenting on the incident DCP (West) BBGTS Murthy said, "Mohammad Hanif (42), his wife Jameela Bano (40) and their daughter Simran (24) along with a Muslim cleric Tauheed (52) who performed the marriage have been arrested on Tuesday for alleged kidnapping and forceful conversion of minor Dalit boy." The accused have been booked for illegal confinement and under sections of Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion law.

The law prohibits forceful conversion or that done by allurement and fraudulent means.

The 16-year-old boy works at an eatery and had left his house for Gorakhpur on Saturday.

He returned home on Sunday and told his mother that he went to Simran's house where "he was given something to eat after which he felt dizzy. He was then forced to convert to Islam and marry her," the mother alleged in the police complaint lodged at Kakdeo Police Station on Monday.

Murthy also suspended the station house officer of Kakdeo Police Station Ram Kumar Gupta and sub-inspector Sher Singh for negligence in investigation.

According to police, Simran is married and has a three-year-old daughter. Her husband left her two years ago. PTI COR CDN RHL