Woman who converted to Islam moves HC seeking protection

Family being threatened, U.P Police and the media on a witch-hunt, says petition

A woman, who had wilfully converted her religion from Hinduism to Islam, has approached the Delhi High Court seeking protection for herself and her family claiming that they are facing life threats and being witch-hunted by the Uttar Pradesh police, media and vigilante groups.

Renu Gangwar, in her petition, said on May 27, she converted to Islam with her “own free will and without any threat or coercion from anyone”. Following this, she changed her name to Ayesha Alvi, which was published in a few newspapers.

Threat by media person

Ms. Alvi, who is a resident of Tilhar, Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh and working in Delhi, subsequently started getting calls from different media persons requesting for a meeting. However, even after her refusal, the media person came to her place in Tilhar, and against her wishes took photographs and videos without her permission.

One particular media person demanded money while threatening to publish the news about her conversion. “When she denied, he threatened again. Thereafter, he forcefully took ₹20,000 from her,” the petition, filed through advocate Kamlesh Kumar Mishra and Nitin Kumar Nayak, said.

Following the incident, Ms. Alvi made a complaint to the Delhi police chief on June 24, seeking immediate intervention for her protection.

Police complaint

“Thereafter, certain other media persons also came and they started making similar demands. Some other people and organisations also started threatening me and my family to force me to reconvert to Hinduism. Feeling threatened, I came back to Delhi today [June 24],” she said in her police complaint.

“On June 26, the petitioner [Ms Alvi] has been informed that her father has been taken away by the Uttar Pradesh police and they are coming to Delhi and would take her back to Uttar Pradesh where she would be forced to file a false complaint/FIR,” the petition stated.

It stated that Ms. Alvi is “under immediate threat of being taken away by force or coercion to Uttar Pradesh by the agencies of the State or any other person”.

Ms. Alvi said she is “an adult and she is protected by the Constitution to choose her own faith and she cannot be targeted and harassed for the choice she makes with regard to the religion she follows”.

She has urged the court to protect her from being taken away from its jurisdiction “by force or coercion and or by way of any other illegal means by the agencies of the State or any other person”.

The petition which is listed for hearing on Wednesday also urged the court “to ensure protection of life, liberty, safety and security of the petitioner, her family member and friends and they be not harassed and interrogated with regard to the conversion of the petitioner”.

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