UP woman says being harassed by police, media since converting, seeks Delhi HC protection

Alleging that she was being threatened and harassed by Uttar Pradesh Police, certain media organisations and vigilante groups for converting to Islam, a 29-year-old woman has approached the Delhi High Court seeking safety for herself and her family, as well as protection of her privacy.

In her petition, the woman said she resides in Delhi, but originally belongs to UP’s Shahjahanpur. “Owing to her conversion of religion, she and her family are being targeted and malicious content about her is being published in the media every day, which needs to be stopped immediately,” she said in her plea via her counsel Kamlesh Kumar Mishra.

As per the petition, the woman converted to Islam on May 27 “with my own free will and without any threat or coercion from anyone”. The plea adds that she has been getting telephone calls from “different mediapersons” since June 23, threatening to publish news about her conversion. One of the persons forcefully took Rs 20,000 from the woman, the plea alleges.

“Several news reports (that) appeared in the small-time newspapers and news portals in UP are giving completely absurd and imaginary details with regard to the conversion of the petitioner,” reads the petition, while specifically referring to one article printed by the online portal, OpIndia.

A complaint was made to Delhi Police on June 24, but no action has been taken yet, the woman has alleged.

The petition also states that on June 26, the woman was informed that her father had been “taken away by Uttar Pradesh Police officials, 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”.

Besides seeking protection, the woman has also prayed that she be not taken away from the jurisdiction of the Delhi HC “by force or coercion and or by way of any other illegal means by the agencies of the state or any other person and protection”.

“Matters of belief and faith, including whether to believe, are at the core of constitutional liberty. The Constitution exists for believers as well as for agnostics. The Constitution protects the ability of each individual to pursue a way of life or faith to which she or he seeks to adhere,” contends the petition.

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