Last month, Priya Verma (29) of Uttar Pradesh wed a Muslim man with Hindu rituals and her parents’ blessing. The couple previously dated for two years before deciding to marry. Privately, before they wed, Priya’s husband revealed that he is not a Hindu man named Rahul, but a Muslim named Taufiq. The two discussed how Taufiq was planning to convert to Hinduism so he could be accepted by her family.
Priya introduced her husband to her parents as a Hindu man named Rahul Verma, knowing that they would never approve of her marrying a Muslim. But now her husband is in jail under the Uttar Pradesh (UP) anti-conversion law, the state’s contentious “Love Jihad” law and for “fraudulently concealing his religious identity,” posing as Hindu to marry a Hindu girl.
Priya’s brother posted some of the wedding pictures on Facebook. Soon residents from Taufiq’s hometown in UP’s Gursahaiganj saw those photos of the wedding on Facebook; notified Priya’s father, Sarvesh Shukla, that “Rahul” was not Hindu and then divulged his true identity. They convinced him that a police complaint should be filed in the matter. But first, Priya’s family wanted to separate the two before Taufiq was arrested.
Priya was with her family for a Hindu wedding ritual called ‘fera’, which requires a daughter to visit her parents a day after their wedding. As planned, she was made to stay back at her parents’ home while Taufiq was arrested and put behind bars under sections of impersonation, cheating, marriage with fraudulent intention, malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings and sections 3 and 6 of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition Of Unlawful Conversion Of Religion Ordinance, 2020.
At first there were media reports claiming Taufiq misled Priya about his identity to marry her. In the First Information Report (FIR) lodged by the woman’s father, it was mentioned that the family was “misled” and the woman was “cajoled” into getting married.
Priya stated that she knew that her husband, Taufiq, was Muslim when she married him on December 10, 2020 in Lucknow. She makes it clear that he did not mislead her and never tried to convert her.
Police recognized the fact that Priya knew Taufiq was Muslim but claimed she herself gave a statement against him. However, Priya says she testified against Taufiq before the magistrate only because she was being pressured by her parents to testify to their allegations. When a reporter from “The Print” arrived at their home, Priya did not want to discuss the matter in front of her parents, so she subtly asked for the reporter’s phone number.
Later, when she was speaking with the reporter by phone, she expressed that she is desperate to reunite with her husband. “How can I get back to him?” she asked. Meanwhile, Priya’s father, Sarvesh Shukla, will not bend. Instead, he reportedly pretends the marriage never happened as he continues his search for a Hindu man to marry his daughter.