Dalit Man In Interfaith Marriage Living In Hiding After Forced Circumcision

Dalit Man In Interfaith Marriage Living In Hiding After Forced Circumcision

by Swati Goel Sharma - Monday, December 12, 2022 03:00 PM IST
Dalit Man In Interfaith Marriage Living In Hiding After Forced Circumcision A passage from the victim’s written complaint.
  • Here's the case of a Hindu man from Maharashtra who married a Muslim woman but was forcibly circumcised by a gang along with slurs of ‘kafir’. 

Is ‘love jihad’ real? Is ‘love jihad’ a Hindutva conspiracy to stop interfaith marriages of Hindu women?

These redundant questions occupy most of the conversation around marriages between Hindus and Muslims today even though the existence of the pattern widely referred to as ‘love jihad’ is undisputed.

That there is a pattern of men from the Muslim community trapping non-Muslim women for conversion through nikah by means of coercion, deceit or outright threat has been alleged not only by Hindus but by Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and tribal groups. 

Hundreds of women have filed police cases against Muslim men narrating tales of targetting that fall under this very pattern.

Lost in this din is the real problem of the age-old Islamist intolerance towards those interfaith marriages that do not involve conversion to Islam of the non-Muslim partners. 

Islamic scholars throughout the world have dwelt on the issue and many have unabashedly proclaimed that such a union is prohibited. Closer home, India’s largest seminary Darul Uloom Deoband maintains that “a Muslim woman cannot marry a Hindu man…they may not be halal for each other after having marriage and their marital relation will be regarded as adultery and prohibition”. 

This opposition has roots in the most widely accepted interpretation of verses from the Quran regarding marriage as well the Islamic idea of ‘Dawah’ that makes it incumbent on all Muslims to get non-Muslims converted to Islam. 

Verse 2:221 of the Quran reads“And do not marry polytheistic women until they believe. And a believing slave woman is better than a polytheist, even though she might please you. And do not marry polytheistic men [to your women] until they believe. And a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even though he might please you. Those invite [you] to the Fire, but Allah invites to Paradise and to forgiveness, by His permission. And He makes clear His verses to the people that perhaps they may remember.”

The belief isn’t limited to clerics and resonates even with the so-called progressives. The Milli Gazette, a portal that caters to English-speaking Indian Muslims, described Tunisia’s historic decision to allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslims as a “sign of apocalypse”.

The secular Indian Constitution and laws do not treat these diktats as binding on any citizen and allow them to have interfaith marriages as per their choice, with provisions to bypass the condition of conversion-nikah

However, the religious obligation to prevent such unions has evidently prompted community members to take extreme steps. This zeal more often than not proves to be a nightmare for interfaith couples where the non-Muslim spouse does not convert to Islam.

One manifestation of it is routinely seen in the murders of Hindu men for marrying or befriending Muslim women. Such victims include Ankit Saxena, Sanjay Kumar, Dablu Singh and Rahul Rajput, if we take cases from New Delhi over the past couple of years alone. 

Another manifestation of it is also routinely seen in the cases of forcible conversion of non-Muslim women marrying Muslim men even if they have a court marriage.  

Yet another manifestation of it is seen in the much lesser-publicised cases of forcible conversion of non-Muslim men if they marry Muslim women through court or a ceremony as per their own religious customs. 

The latest such case to come out in public is of a Hindu man from Maharashtra who married a Muslim woman but was forcibly circumcised by a gang along with slurs of ‘kafir’. 

Swarajya has learnt that the couple has shifted out of their home to move to a different town, whereabouts of which this correspondent cannot share for reasons of their safety. 

The couple has given their statement in a letter to a rights organisation, which is trying to get a police case filed. The couple has also recorded a brief statement on video and shared with the organisation as well, also accessed by Swarajya.

The man’s statement in the letter is as follows:

The man, Bablu Milind Chauhan, belongs to the Valmiki jaati, which comes under Scheduled Castes.

In 2018, he met a woman named Rabia, who was a widow with two daughters. Rabia’s husband from her Muslim community had passed away some years ago. Bablu and Rabia liked each other and, with the consent of both their parents, got married in a ceremony in Solapur on 15 June 2018.

During lockdown, they shifted from Solapur to Pune for work. Bablu found employment at a brick kiln in Daund city of Pune and rented a place in Kumbhar Galli opposite Pardeshi building. There, a neighbour named Asif Sheikh learnt about them. 

One day, Asif approached Rabia and asked her if she was Muslim, to which she said yes, she was. Asif began harassing Rabia after that day. When Rabia told this to Bablu, he confronted Asif, but the latter insulted Bablu saying he was a ‘kafir’ (infidel, considered the worst of sinners in Islam).

Asif told him, “You are Hindu, you are ‘kafir’ and despite that, you married a woman from my religion. Either you convert to Islam or leave her.”

Asif further told him that if Bablu did not pay heed to his words, he would be killed and driven out of Daund.

Bablu told this to Rabia, and the two decided to move out of Daund. On 3 October 2022, Asif entered his home with a man named Qumer Qureshi in tow. Qureshi is locally known as ‘Haji Saheb’. 

Asif complained to him that Rabia had married a Hindu. Qureshi and Asif assaulted the family and forcibly took Rabia and her daughters Nargis and Alia with him. The women returned home after two hours.  

They told Bablu that they were taken to Qureshi’s office near a qabristan (Muslim burial ground). There, they scolded her for marrying a Hindu ‘kafir’ man, and offered to get her married to a “five-time namazi” from her community. They also threatened her that they would get Bablu killed if she did not heed their advice.

Some more such confrontations happened in the following days. The couple was still making up their mind whether to shift out of Daund. Then, on 14 October 2022, Asif and Qureshi again entered their house, but this time accompanied by a man they called ‘Doctor Saheb’. 

The group made the women leave the house and forcibly undressed Bablu. While Asif and Qureshi held him by force, the ‘doctor’ circumcised Bablu by slicing out a layer of skin from his private part.

Despite pain and trauma, Bablu, along with Rabia and their daughters, fled Daund. Out of fear and hurry, they did not give a complaint to the police that time.

The letter concludes here.

The case was recently brought to public notice on social media by the legal rights organisation. This correspondent contacted the user and accessed Bablu’s written statement. 

This correspondent also contacted the Daund police station. The person who picked up the call said that the police station had received no such complaint, and if they get any, they would look into it. 

A member of the organisation told this correspondent that they recently learnt about Bablu, helped him get rehabilitated, got his written statement and would now approach the police for a case.

The member further said that Bablu is currently carrying no mobile phone and hence cannot be contacted directly. 

Readers may read about more cases of similar pattern in these links below:

In October this year, a man named Jagveer Kori from Uttar Pradesh, also belonging to Scheduled Caste, filed a police case against his wife and her family of forcing him to convert to Islam 12 years after their marriage. 

As per his complaint, he met a woman who introduced herself as an orphan named Pooja. The two got married soon after.

It turned out that Pooja was from a Muslim family, was named Haseena Bano and had eloped from her house. Recently, she was able to make contact with her family. As she grew close to her family again, the latter began putting pressure on Jagveer to convert to Islam so they could accept their marriage. Swarajya accessed the FIR and talked to the victim, and wrote about the case here.

In November last year, a Hindu man filed a police case against his Muslim wife of hiding her Muslim identity when marrying him and later forcing him to convert to Islam and get circumcised.

In June last year, a Sikh man from Punjab moved the Chandigarh district court seeking directions to restrain his Muslim wife and her relatives from forcibly converting him to Islam. 

The plea said that though his Muslim wife had promised him before their marriage that she and her family would never force him to convert to her religion, he was pressured soon after the marriage to give up his Sikh faith. The family was forcing him to get his son circumcised as per Islamic custom.

In 2020, Swarajya covered a case where an orphaned man named Sushil, born in a Hindu Jat family of Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, was converted to Islam by his Muslim employer when he was a minor. At 30, when ‘Salim’ felt he was no more dependent on that employer, he gave an affidavit to a local court saying he was converting to Hindu faith again and renaming himself as Sushil.

This prompted not only attacks on him by his neighbours, but his father-in-law also forcibly separated him from his wife and children. His wife’s family told him that the only choice before him was to read the ‘Kalma’ again and attend a Tablighi Jamaat for a consecutive 40 days. Sushil gave a complaint to the local police station against the harassment.

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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