A woman from Gorakhpur whose father had filed an abduction complaint against a 22-year-old Muslim man from Karnataka after she went away with him has told the police that she was not kidnapped or forced to change her religion.
The 19-year-old woman and the youth from Karnataka, identified as Mehboob Chapparband, were brought back to the state on Sunday, days after the police registered a case against the 22-year-old under the anti-conversion law. He was accused of abducting the woman and forcing her to convert to Islam before marrying her. The police claimed to have found the two staying near the railway station in Karnataka’s Bijapur district.
“The woman told the police that she had gone on her own to Karnataka in search of a job. She denied the allegation that she had been kidnapped by the youth and was forced to convert her religion. She further told the police that she came in contact with Mehboob through social media and he did not hide his real identity. The woman showed a willingness to go with Mehboob for a job,” said Additional Superintendent of Police, Gorakhpur, Manoj Kumar Awasthi.
The police officer said Mehboob and the woman had been placed in the custody of separate non-government organisations. The woman has been medically examined and the report is awaited. “The next course of action will be taken on the basis of the woman’s statement before the magistrate,” Awasthi added.
The police said Mehboob used to work in the merchant navy but was unemployed at present. He was not arrested and was not brought to Uttar Pradesh on transit remand, said Chiluatal Station House Officer (SHO) Neeraj Rai.
The woman’s father, a retired Army man, had filed a missing person report on January 5, saying his daughter had not returned home from college. The woman’s father came across a cell phone number from which she used to regularly receive calls. The police checked a caller identification app, and came across Mehboob’s name.
A week after the missing person report was registered, using her call detail records the woman’s father lodged an FIR against Mehboob, saying he befriended her in 2019 after introducing himself as Hindu. Mehboob was accused of kidnapping the 19-year-old on the pretext of getting her a job at a company. He claimed Mehboob could pressure his daughter to change her religion.
The police tracked Mehboob’s number to Karnataka and dispatched a three-member team, including a sub-inspector, to Bijapur to bring back the woman.
The police have booked Mehboob under IPC sections 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc) and 363 (kidnapping), and under the anti-conversion law.