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Karnataka: 7 booked in Belagavi for forcing woman to convert

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Belagavi (Karnataka): Seven individuals, including a married couple, in Karnataka have been accused of coercing a 28-year-old married woman into converting to Islam. They allegedly threatened to release explicit photos of her if she did not comply with their demands.

Based on the victim’s complaints, an FIR has been filed in Saundatti against the seven individuals. They have been charged under various laws, including the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act, relevant sections of the IT law, the SC/ST Act, and the Indian Penal Code. The charges against them include rape, kidnapping, wrongful confinement, and criminal intimidation.

According to the victim, who is Hindu and married, the main suspect, Rafiq, raped her in front of his wife and forced her to wear a burkha, prohibiting her from wearing ‘kumkum’ on her forehead. The couple allegedly deceived the woman, engaging in sexual relations with her, and took intimate photos that were later used to blackmail her into converting her religion.

The victim filed a complaint stating that Rafiq pressured her to divorce her husband and threatened to expose the intimate photos if she did not agree to convert. She further alleged that the couple threatened to harm her if she refused to convert, and she faced caste-based insults due to her belonging to a backward caste.

The police investigation revealed that since 2023, the suspects had coerced the woman into living with them in Belagavi and forced her to follow their orders. The victim claimed that Rafiq raped her last year in the presence of his wife when they were all living together.

Belagavi SP Bhimashankar Guleda stated that in April this year, the couple instructed the woman not to wear ‘kumkum,’ made her wear a burkha, and compelled her to perform namaz five times a day.

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