In Uttarakhand, love-jehad meets no resistance and goes unabated in all 13 districts of the state. Love-jehad is a softer form of terrorism streamlined to help increase Muslim population, thereby making India a Muslim-dominated country. It is being secretly supported by overseas funds. While love-jehad meets stiff resistance in Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, pahari community people in Uttarakhand and fight shyly adopting ostrich-like attitude who say that highlighting the issue would bring a bad name to them. Recently, when a Sikh girl was trapped by a Muslim man feigning love, for her conversion into Islam in Bazpur town of district Udham Singh Nagar, hullabaloo was raised by the Sikh community under leadership of BJP ex-MP Balraj Passi, whereas people of mountain-origin have been wishing away an endless stream of such incidents. To stop menace of love-jehad in Uttarakhand, a Punjabi Mahasabha delegation under the leadership of state general secretary Harish Narang called on the then DGP on August 12, 2012; meanwhile, they have also started a website www.punjabiuk.webs.com.
According to an estimate, lakhs after lakhs of Hindu girls and young women of pahari origin have been proselytised to Islam in a vicious love-jehad campaign. Now the administration in the hilly districts has also threatened to put behind bars all the parents who were found guilty of selling off their girls, resulting in their forcible conversion. On March 29, revenue police in Gangolihaat sub-division of Pithoragarh district rescued a 13-year-old girl Prema (name changed) from the clutches of his buyers—Shahid Alam, Rajkumar Gupta, Banti Kumar, and Ashok Kumar (all Muslims with fake Hindu names)—belongingto Moradabad. SDM Gangolihaat Anurag Arya said an accused Shahid Alam had conducted fake marriage with the minor girl after paying Rs 25, 000 to her mother Ganga Devi (name changed) who was forced to sell her daughter due to acute poverty. Earlier, acting on an FIR filed by village watchman Jeevan Lal, assistant Tehsildar conducted a raid on the house all the four accused were hiding along with the minor victim, and arrested them under Sections 372 and 737 IPC; they later produced them before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Pithoragarh. All the four accused were sent to jail.
In Uttarakhand, Pithoragarh is one of the most backward areas with no irrigation, electricity, water facility or road communications in its 190 villages and 32 revenue villages on Indo-Nepal border where people without means of livelihood live in abject poverty. ADM BL Rane said the district administration is keeping a close watch on outsiders ‘marrying’ village girls minor or otherwise. The DMs and SPs in Pithoragarh and Champawat districts have constituted tehsil level watch groups of locals to keep vigil on the outside unsocial elements and pimps etc. ‘marrying’ local girls. SP Pithoragarh Vijay Karki has also warned the anti-social elements to desist from buying the native village girls and convert them forcibly. Speaking in an administrative meeting on March 31, SDM Gangolihaat Anurag Arya said during 2012, more than 50 girls, mostly minor were sold off in the name of fake marriage from Gangolihaat sub-division; many complaints were received from far-flung Berinaag sub-division also situated amidst high snow-capped mountain peaks and dense forests. In the adjoining district Bagheswar, 238 cases of missing children were registered since 2010 to 2012, among them were 100 young women and 26 minor girls.
As many as 25 girls who had been sold off in the name of marriages have lost contacts with their parents soon after. Arya said such incidents are happening mainly in the remote hilly areas. SDM Arya warned that punitive action will also be taken against the parents found guilty of selling off their daughters. Many girls and young women are from tribal and other backwards communities. Uttarakhand is one of the tribal and other backward community dominated regions from where Jaunsari, Buxa, Tharu, Vanrawat, Bhotia, Khasi, Kol and other hill women are lured away by love-jehadis routinely due to their exceptional beauty, physique and fair colour.
After creation of Uttarakhand state in 2000, the phenomenon of women- trafficking has taken an alarming proportion in all 13 districts. Secretary Janak Samiti Surendra Bhandari said, “Last year, a few organised gangs have trafficked 27 young girls from Vikash Nagar in district Dehra Dun through arranging fake marriages with Muslim youths hailing from Haryana, Western UP, Rajasthan and parts of Punjab. In fact, all these girls and young women were sold off, Shri Bhandari said, because the victims never visited again their paternal house on festive and other auspicious occasions. Many parents even do not know, or care to know, where their daughters have been despatched off, particularly those who have accepted money from the prospective buyers in lieu of their daughters. Gairsein, Chaukhutiya, Masi, Ranikhet, Almora, Srinagar, Vikasnagar, Dehra Dun and a host of other towns have emerged as the hot centres of women- trafficking in Uttarakhand, from where a huge number of Muslims are buying Uttarakhandi and Nepali girls and young women to procreate as many off-springs as they can to fill their household.
Still politicians, administrative and police officials care little for the increasing incidence in such heinous cases. On the contrary, police officials in Uttarakhand have been acting in connivance with love-jehadis. Uttarakhand Women Commission Chairperson, Shushila Baluni also makes pretexts when it comes to fulfilling her official duty and commitment to the society, saying, “The state Women Commission has got no real power to act against such culprits. Our function is restricted merely to counselling. The women who approach us, we provide them counselling. But, we can do nothing in matter of large-scale women-trafficking from the state.”