On September 19, Uttar Pradesh saw its first conviction under the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, passed in November 2020. The Amroha district court sentenced 25-year-old Mohammad Afzal to five years in prison and asked him to pay a fine of Rs 40,000.
Afzal was prosecuted for allegedly lying about his identity, taking a 16-year-old Hindu girl to Delhi and forcing her to convert to Islam for marriage. The 25-year-old, who lives in Hayatnagar village in Sambhal district, sells plants and does carpentry on the side to make ends meet. He is currently in judicial custody.
The Amroha court has also convicted him for kidnapping, outraging the modesty of a woman and criminal intimidation. He has also been convicted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act for intentional assault with sexual intent.
All sentences are to be served concurrently.
Ashok Kumar, the advocate appearing for him, said they would move the Allahabad High Court against the conviction, especially the charges under the ordinance. “The verdict is wrong,” Kumar said. “The case rests on forcible conversion, however there is no evidence on record to prove that the accused was trying to forcibly convert the minor.”
He claimed that Afzal and the girl were friends;…