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Gujarat Police make first arrest under new anti-conversion law

Ahmedabad, June 18;Gujarat Police have registered the first FIR in the state under the newly-notified law against forcible or fraudulent religious conversion through marriage, and arrested a 26-year-old man in Vadodara city, a senior official said on Friday.

Based on a complaint, the Gotri police of Vadodara filed the FIR and arrested Samir Qureshi under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021, which invites stringent punishment for forcible religious conversion through marriage.

Qureshi, who runs a mutton shop with his father, allegedly lured a woman of another religion by posing as a Christian and introduced himself to her as Sam Martin on social media in 2019, Deputy Commissioner of police, Zone 2, Vadodara city, Jayrajsinh Vala

According to the complainant, Qureshi, using his fake identity on social media, trapped her in the name of love and then raped her. The accused started blackmailing her using her objectionable photos and forced her to marry him. He even forced her to undergo an abortion during their courtship,” he told reporters.

The girl, who was under the impression that Qureshi is a Christian, learnt about the accused and his faith around a year ago when a “nikah” ceremony was organised instead of a Christian wedding after she agreed to marry him, the official said.

After marriage, the accused first changed her name and then started forcing her to convert, Vala said, adding that the accused also verbally abused the victim using casteist slurs.

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