Dhami govt to probe all cases of ‘forced conversions’ since 2018
Speaking to this newspaper, additional director general of police (law & order) Dr V Murugesan said the review will focus on whether there is any case of religious conversion.
DEHRADUN: The BJP-led Pushkar Singh Dhami government is set to reopen the files of all inter-religious disputes that have taken place since the implementation of the Freedom of Religion Act in Uttarakhand in 2018. All these cases are related to the kidnapping of young women and adolescent girls.
Speaking to this newspaper, additional director general of police (law & order) Dr V Murugesan said the review will focus on whether there is any case of religious conversion. “If it is the case of such a conversion, then action will follow under the Freedom of Religion Act,” he said.
The police headquarters has issued letters to superintendents of police of all districts seeking details of such cases and written complaints.According to the police’s own preliminary investigation, 18 cases have been registered under the Freedom of Religion Act across the state since 2018. Of these, chargesheets have been filed in 11 cases. However, one FIR has been “closed.”
The final report in one case has been received and five are under investigation. Dehradun has recorded the highest number of seven cases. Six cases have been registered in Haridwar, three in Nainital and one each in Uttarkashi and Tehri Garhwal.
The government has taken this step immediately after the Purola incident. Also, now the file of those cases is also being opened in which a case of the kidnapping of a girl of a particular religion has been registered. However, it was not investigated whether she was converted or pressured.
According to the police headquarters, after the file is opened, there will be an investigation and action will be taken under the amended Act. In the case of the kidnapping of a minor, the accused go to jail. However, in the kidnapping of young women, marriages take place on the basis of consent, sources said.
In such a situation, it is also believed that some marriages may also come under its purview. However, in 2022, the Act was amended to impose a fine of `50,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years.