Gujarat: Man held for `raping’ girl, police call it `love jihad’ case


PTI, Jul 5, 2023, 4:02 PM IST

A 37-year-old Muslim man has been arrested by Navsari police in Gujarat for allegedly raping and blackmailing a girl for nearly five years, an official said on Wednesday.

Asim Nizam Shaikh, the accused, was arrested on Tuesday from Vasai near Mumbai ”in a case of love jihad”, police said in a statement here. Shaikh allegedly raped the girl for the first time five years ago when she was 16, and recorded a video which he used to blackmail her, police said.

”Love jihad” is a term used by the right-wing activists to refer to an alleged conspiracy to convert Hindu girls to Islam by marrying them. To save himself from getting caught, Shaikh, who is married and has children, forced the victim to marry his accomplice Ronak Patel, police said.

Patel, who was behind bars in a case of murder, came out on parole recently and was yet to be apprehended.

On the victim’s complaint, a First Information Report was registered against the duo under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, sections 376(2)(n) and 506(2) of the Indian Penal Code which deal with rape and criminal intimidation, and the Information Technology Act at Khergam police station on June 23. ”Shaikh and Patel went underground after the FIR was registered. We then learnt that Shaikh had reached Mumbai from Jaipur and was staying at a hotel in Vasai. We nabbed him from Vasai on Tuesday and brought him here. A POCSO court here remanded Shaikh in nine-day police custody,” said Navsari district Superintendent of Police Rushikesh Upadhyay.

Shaikh, a resident of Khergam, allegedly blackmailed the girl and her family for five years by using the videos he had recorded. He even broke her engagement by sending the videos to her fiance, the SP said.

Navsari police said in their statement that Shaikh was a bootlegger and had 18 cases related to prohibition, assault and illegal money-lending registered against. His father Nizam and three brothers also face criminal cases, said the statement.

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