Representative image of Uttar Pradesh police. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: A 24-year-old Sikh woman from the district of Muzaffarnagar, who had alleged that a man in her neighbourhood had married her after forcing her to change her religion, on June 29 retracted her allegations against two Muslim brothers who had been booked under the anti-conversion law based on her complaint.

Under chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh is among a host of BJP-ruled states which have passed so-called ‘love jihad’ – an imagined conspiracy propagated by the Sangh Parivar alleging that Muslim men convert Hindu women by marriage – laws that criminalise conversion by inducement. They have usually been used to target interfaith couples.

The Union home ministry and the Uttar Pradesh police have both been unable to offer concrete evidence of ‘love jihad’. In several situations, the new law has been used to harass couples and Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, with fatal consequences.

According to a report in the Indian Express, while recording her statement before a magistrate, the woman denied the allegations. The woman also claimed that she had filed the complaint under pressure from some Hindu organisations.

The two Muslim men had been booked for rape and fraud and charged under the states anti-conversion law on the basis on her complaint. The woman had accused one of the men in her neighbourhood of preparing false documents to present her as a Muslim woman eligible for “nikah [Muslim marriage]”. The man the woman had claimed she was married to is in jail at present, while his brother is absconding.

“In her statement before the magistrate, the woman denied all charges levelled against the two brothers. She even denied having married [one of] the accused, and claimed she got the FIR lodged following pressure by some Hindu organisations,” the Station House Officer (SHO) of the police station said and added that the woman did not name any outfit.

The complainant also denied that the accused either took money from her or assaulted her, the SHO said. The police are reportedly planning to move court to request the release of the accused from jail.

As per the police, the complainant visited the police station on Sunday and alleged that a man had sexually assaulted her on the pretext of marriage and was also not returning the Rs 5 lakh she had lent him. She also claimed that she had married the accused in May and that her father and the accused, both ran grocery shops.

The complainant also claimed that this month, she found out that her “husband” had married a Muslim woman and when she objected, her husband and her elder brother allegedly beat her up and threatened her. After she lodged a complaint with the police, her husband was arrested and produced before a local court which then sent him to judicial custody.

The assistant superintendent of police said that the woman had submitted a few documents, including her nikahnama (marriage contract) along with her complaint. “We will verify the nikahnama submitted by the woman along with the complaint letter. Action will be taken based on the inquiry into those documents,” the assistant superintendent of police said.

This article first appeared on thewire.in