Gujarat’s first love jihad case ends in out-of-court settlement

Ahmedabad: In June 2021, the first love jihad (Under sections of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act (amendment 2021)) case was registered with the Gotri police station in Vadodara city. Last month the Gujarat High Court’s single bench of Justice Niral Mehta quashed the First Information Report against the accused Samir Qureshi and five others.

The court while quashing the FIR against Qureshi observed, “An amicable settlement has been arrived at between the parties and they (complainant and accused) are living together. In that view of the matter, the further continuation of the criminal proceedings would jeopardize their future and thus, this court is inclined to accept the settlement.”

When the accused Samir moved a petition to quash the FIR before the high court, Samir’s wife and victim Divyaben had submitted before the court that, “The love Jihad angle was brought up by police themselves, these allegations were incorrect and she never made such allegations, she has never alleged that she was forced to convert to Islam.”

After filing a complaint against her husband, Divyaben started changing her statement and stand and it was noticed by the police and prosecution as well, Anil Desai, Vadodara District Government Pleader, told IANS.

When her husband moved a bail application before the trial soon after the police remand was over, even before the hearing was scheduled, Divya had filed an affidavit stating that she favour’s Samir’s bail application and is not opposing it. It is different that the court did not accept her affidavit and rejected the bail application, remembers Desai.

In her complaint, she had made serious allegations against her husband and his family. Then Deputy Commissioner of Police Jayrajsinh Vala had told the media, “She has alleged that Samir had hidden his religion, he had introduced himself as a Christian and befriended her. Misusing their intimate photos he blackmailed and raped her a number of times, because of which she became pregnant twice and both times got aborted, she has alleged that she was forced to marry him and later he and his family forced her to convert to Islam. His family members were forcing her to wear a burqa, her mother-in-law was making casteist remarks as she belonged to a tribal community.”

After all these allegations, she changed her stand. It is possible that she was pressurised to compromise, either by Samir’s family or some other group, said Desai.

Desai said though her statement was recorded before the judicial magistrate, she has retracted it. Now the prosecution has started recording witnesses and other supporters’ statements under the Criminal Procedure Code 164 before the judicial magistrate, to make a strong case. But if both sides compromise after filing such a complaint, the prosecution is left with few options. – IANS

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