Minutes before the wedding, a Lucknow police team reached the venue and asked both parties to accompany them to the local police station
Lucknow police stopped a wedding ceremony between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man citing a new ant-conversion law, reports Indian news portal NDTV.
A new ordinance, set by the Uttar Pradesh government to stop unlawful conversion, became a law just one week ago.
The wedding was scheduled to take place in the state capital, Lucknow's, Para area on Wednesday. However, minutes before the ceremony, a police team reached the venue and asked both the parties to accompany them to the local police station.
At the police station, both sides were asked by the police to first seek clearance for the marriage from the Lucknow District Magistrate, NDTV said quoting the police.
"On December 2, we received information that a girl from one community was wanting to get married to a boy from another other community. We called both sides to the police station and handed them a copy of the new unlawful conversion ordinance and both sides have given written consent that as per law, they will inform the DM [District Magistrate] and get his permission before moving ahead with things," Suresh Chandra Rawat, a senior Lucknow police officer, told the media.
While the families of both the man and the woman have not spoken on record , sources say the wedding was taking place with the consent and the knowledge of both families and that there was no coercion involved.
Sources say both families intend to go ahead with the wedding after completing any legal formalities required under law. There was also no intention of either side to convert, family sources have claimed.
However, police claimed that the wedding ceremony was about to take place following Hindu rituals when they reached the spot.
The Uttar Pradesh Unlawful Religious Conversion Prohibition Ordinance (2020) says that religious conversions that use falsehood, force or an incentive, or take place solely for the purpose of marriage will be declared a crime.
Those who plan to convert after marriage, the government said, will have to inform the District Magistrate of their intention at least two months in advance.
The burden of proof, that the conversion was not forced for marriage, will be on the person converting, and all cases filed under the ordinance will be non-bailable.
According to the ordinance, forced conversion (or conversion through fraud) will be punished by up to five years' imprisonment or a fine of ₹ 15,000. If the forced conversion involves a woman from the marginalised communities, then this will increase to between three and 10 years' jail and a fine of Rs25,000 (Tk28,713). Mass conversions will attract a similar jail term and a fine of 50,000 (Tk57,426).