Karnataka: Muslim who informed cops about interfaith marriage becomes first arrested under anti-conversion law

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A Muslim youth who eloped with a Hindu girl has been arrested by the Bengaluru police under the newly introduced state anti-conversion law — the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act-2022.

22-year-old Syed Muheen of north Bengaluru, who allegedly eloped with his neighbour 18-year-old Khushboo Yadav was arrested in a case filed on 08 October at the Yeshwanthpur police station, Indian Express reported.

Khushboo Yadav converted to Islam to facilitate their marriage.

Apparently, Muheen, who was booked for suspected kidnapping appeared before the police with Khushboo to inform them they are married. Then Khushboo’s mother Gyantidevi Yadav filed a fresh complaint under the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act-2022, which led to the arrest.

The Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act-2022 which was passed by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in December 2021 and the state Legislative Council on September 16, 2022, was notified on September 30 by the state government.

Initially, on October 6, Khushboo’s mother filed a missing complaint for her daughter stating that she is suspected to have eloped with Muheen.

According to Indian Express, Muheen and Khushboo were neighbours in the B K Nagar area of Yeshwanthpur and were seeing each other for nearly six months.

Muheen worked at a chicken centre in the locality and Kushboo was the daughter of a painter from Uttar Pradesh.

The law says interfaith marriage will have legal recognition only if the conversion is brought to the notice of a district magistrate 30 days in advance or 30 days post-conversion.

According to the law, the burden of proof to show that conversion was not forced or unlawful will lie on the person who has caused the conversion, and on the person who aids or abets such conversion.