BJP LEADER and Maharashtra MLC Gopichand Padalkar on Friday sought a detailed police probe into a case registered against a youth on the charge of rape and under sections of the POCSO Act in Pune Rural linked to a girl who went missing four years ago and was traced this month by her relatives.
While Padalkar called it a case of “love jihad” and “forced conversion”, the police said there “was no allegation of love jihad or forceful conversation in the FIR” that was registered at the time the girl went missing.
Addressing a press conference along with the girl and her family, Padalkar claimed that the girl’s brother recently saw the movie “The Kerala Story” and “got afraid whether his sister was in any kind of trouble”. “So he approached people from his community, who launched a search for the girl. On May 16, they traced the boy in Manchar,” the BJP leader said, adding that the girl was “rescued” from a room where she was allegedly locked up by the boy.
“The police have arrested the boy. The girl was forcibly converted. She was physically and mentally tortured so much that even now she is in a state of shock. This is an incident of love jihad. We demand an in-depth probe,” said Padalkar.
When contacted, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sudarshan Patil, said, “We have arrested the boy. Section 376 (rape) of Indian Penal Code and sections of the POCSO Act have been invoked against him as the girl was a minor at the time of the crime. The accused had travelled to three states and different cities and was not using a cell phone, so he could not be traced before. There was no allegation of love jihad or forceful conversation in the FIR that was registered four years ago. We will be recording the statement of the victim girl. Further investigation will be done accordingly.”
After the girl went missing, one of her family members had lodged a complaint at the police station. As the girl was then aged 16 years, the police lodged an FIR of kidnapping against an “unidentified person” under section 363 of the IPC as per the procedure.
On Friday, the girl’s brother alleged that “despite sharing details of the boy who kidnapped my sister, cops named the accused as an unidentified person”.
“We visited the police regularly to know the progress in the investigation. But they only kept giving assurances they would trace the girl. Then, during Covid, the police said they were short of manpower and that the probe was going slow. Finally, we managed to nab the kidnapper and rescue my sister,” the girl’s brother said.