States like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and others have brought the ‘Anti Conversion’ laws to curb forced religious conversions and fake identity traps citing their intensity. On the other hand the state of Bengal under the vicious Mamta Banerjee is setting the accused held under charges of repeated rape and fraud free. The motive behind the crime and the criminal go unpunished in lack of dedicated laws.
On March 15 the session court at Alipore, West Bengal granted bail to accused Haider Ali who was booked under charges of rape and fraud. Haider posed as Prince to trap a Hindu woman into a relationship and later exploited her sexually and financially.
Notably, the court order has not once mentioned the fact that the accused hid his identity to trap the Hindu woman. The local activists on the other hand call it a case of ‘Love Jihad’ and demand actions to be taken against the culprit.
Had it been a state where there are dedicated laws to curb fake love traps, the accused would have been still into jail.
The First Information Report states that Haider sexually exploited the victim on the pretext of marriage
A First Information Report (number–189/2022) was registered in the case at Bansdroni police station of the south 24 Parganas district in Kolkata on October 11, 2022. As per the victim Gargi Ghosh (26), the accused Haider Ali forged his identity to trap her and later exploited her on the pretext of marriage. He is currently deployed at the Rapid Action Force (RAF), Barsat in Bengal.
Gargi in the complaint told the police that she lives Subodh Park area of the city and met Haider Ali through social networking site where he introduced himself as Prince. In January 2022, Haider sent her a friend request on Facebook, the name of the ID was Prince. After she accepted his friend request they started talking to each other from February 6, 2022.
Later Haider told her during the conversation that he was Prince Sarkar, a Bengali and lives in Krishnanagar. Gradually they started talking to each other, he had only one picture posted through his account which raised suspicion in Gargi’s mind. Prince said, they should have a video call so that she can clear all her doubts about him. Later she believed in him and a strong friendship bond developed. They both started talking to each other through both voice and video calling.
By February 15, he asked her to meet him at Victoria. She went to meet him as by then she developed trust on him. He again asked her to meet him at the same venue on February 17, that day he proposed to her for marriage but Gargi refused saying she needs more time to know and understand him.
After a few meetings, Prince started visiting her flat and his visits were quite frequent. He would intentionally come to her place when she was alone, so that he gets physically involved with her. But Gargi made it very clear that she is not comfortable in having physical relation before marriage. But he kept on insisting and persuading her for the same saying he believes they are married out of their love and that marriage is just a ritual.
In March 2022, Gargi found about his true identity that he was not Prince Sarkar but Haider Ali, a resident of Rampurhat area. When she confronted him he said, knowing his true identity she would have never accepted him and that he loves her a lot. She gave him a chance and forgave him.
He always assured her that he will marry her only but suddenly in April 2022. She found that his mother and has fixed his engagement with a woman named Shabnam. When she confronted him he said, out of fear he could not tell about their relationship to his mother but he will surely break the said engagement and will tell his family about her.
After the engagement, he kept on talking to her. One day in April 2022, he visited her flat and forced himself upon her. That day he had sexual intercourse with her saying, when he is promising her that they will get married in the future then there is no harm in having a physical relationship. From that day onwards he kept on having sexual intercourse with her.
In July 2022, Haider informed her that his mother will come to her place as she needs medical treatment and they have no one in Kolkata. He added, Gardi should use this opportunity to please her make sure she accepts her as her daughter-in-law. Haider’s mother Selima Begum stayed in her house from August 6 to August 20. When Haider took her back he informed her that his mother did not like her at all and that she asked him to break all his relationship with her.
Haider on the other hand said that he cannot live without her and will always love her only. He would visit her flat, have sexual intercourse with her and would even ask for money. He would also share sexually explicit content with her on social media such as Whatsapp and Facebook.
In September 2022, he asked for one lakh rupees saying he wants to invest the money in share market. As this was not an emergency requirement, Gargi refused to give him any money. He started threatening her saying he will call all his ex-girlfriends and will ask for money from them. He added, he will also start sleeping with all of them. Out of fear of loosing him, she gave him sixty thousand rupees. After this he asked her to pay another five thousand. When she got angered he returned the money through PhonePe and burnt all the gifts she had given to him to date.
That day the official end of their relationship but Haider said that he cannot live without her. Gargi knowing that he will never dare to tell about her to Shabnam (his fiance) and her father Yousuf Ali. when Haider found about this he blocked her from everywhere and left her. When she reached his house his family members started threatening her of dire consequences.
Later she met the members of the Local Gram Panchayat regarding the matter who called for a meeting but Haider never came there. He skipped the subsequent meetings and told the locals that the victim is a characterless women who is doing all of this to defame him. He also quashed all the allegations made by her saying, they only talk over the phone and have never met in person, nor did he make any physical relation with her.
Gargi then reached the police for the help.
As per the FIR the accused was booked under IPC sections 376 (rape), 417 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation). The police arrested the accused on February 2023. The victim recorded her statement under section 164 of the CrPC on October 17, 2022.
Gargi told Organiser Weekly that Haider’s mother rejected her saying she only follows Hindu customs
In a telephonic interview with Organiser Weekly, Gargi told that when Haider’s mother visited her place she would have problems with her as she was a Hindu. His mother also had a problem with the fact that Gargi ate normal meat and not ‘Halal’ which is permissible in Islam.
She was strict towards her religion and would tell Gargi what Islam is and one should offer namaz five times a day. She would also tell her to wear Hijab as it is mandatory in Islam. Later she rejected her saying, Gargi only follows the Hindu religion and will never be able to live with them.
On the other hand, Haider used to go to temples with Gargi, he would accept Prashad, was not very strict with Islamic beliefs but his family members were. When Gargi said, she would not be able to follow Islamic customs, Haider said his mother lives in village that is why she talks like this, he did not say that she will not have to follow this or something like that.
When Gargi complained to the village panchayat and Haider never appeared before them, the Panchayat head who was also a Muslim issued death threats against her. Gargi says, the village where Haider and his family lives is an all-Muslim village, not a single Hindu family lives there. After her complaint to the Panchayat, she received many threatening calls from the villagers.
When she called Haider’s fiance and spoke to her father, Haider said he will chop her and bury the pieces in ground.
She says, Although Haider never asked her to come to Islam but as he left her on his family’s request he would have forced her to come to Islam as well in the future.
About her relationship with him she says, Haider was a porn addict, he would send her porn videos and tried recreating the same at home. He forced her to have oral sex with him. he also send her his naked pictures. Once he threatened her saying, he has clicked her nude pictures and can make them viral on the internet if she dare register a complaint against him.
About Haider, she said, his father had two ‘Nikah’. From his first marriage, he has three children and from the second he had Haider and his sister who is married. Haider’s father was also a police constable.
Gargi, on the other hand, was left by her parents to a children’s shelter home from where she was adopted by her legal parents at an age of 3. Three years back, her parents died and she was emotionally vulnerable and alone when she met Haider. He took benefit of the situation and exploited her.
Gargi used to work as an accounts manager at the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and she also worked with another IT firm. Now with the case getting registered and repeated death threats, she had to leave her job.
Now that, Haider was exposed she wanted strict action to be taken against him. She ignored all his mistakes as she too loved him but he did everything just to use her.
As per the court order, there is no ground to keep the accused in jail
On March 15, the bench of the session judge at the south–24 Parganas, Alipore issued an order (number–2) for the case (number–977/2023).
The court observed that, at the time when the accused and the complainant had a physical relationship they were both major and went into a relationship out of their own free will. Now that the relationship is not working the complainant has filed a case against the accused. There is no grounds for IPC section 376 (2)(n) (repeated rape).
The court granted the accused bail against a security amount of ten thousand rupees only. He was in custody since February 2023.
Notably, there is no mention of the fact in the court order that the accused first introduced himself as a Hindu Bengali boy named Prince Sarkar. This is why the victim falls prey to his trap. He trapped her using fake identity and later exploited her but the learned bench of justice Jayanta Kole, ignored it.
Also, the victim’s lawyer informed the bench about the repeated threats that the victim is facing from the accused and family since she lodged the case and that it will be not suitable and safe for her to leave the accused like this. Still, the court granted him bail.
To date, Gargi is getting death threats from the accused and family, it was then the SinghaBahini volunteers reached out for help.
Devdutta Maji, the president of SinghaBahini told Organiser Weekly that the victim told them that she is receiving death threats from the accused and now that he is out on bail she is even more scared.
Maji added they will make sure the woman gets justice and remains safe.
(Organiser Weekly has all the original copies of the documents mentioned in the report)