The Uttar Pradesh police stopped a wedding ceremony in Kushinagar over rumours of love jihad, allegedly beaten up the groom with a leather belt and kept the couple in custody for one day. Victim Haider Ali alleged that the officers tortured him at the Kasya Police Station for hours over suspicion of converting a Hindu woman into Muslim for marriage.

Kasya Police Station SHO Sanjay Kumar said some “miscreants” spread rumours of love jihad and the couple was released from the custody only after they proved of being of the same religion. According to Circle Officer (CO) Piyush Kant Rai, the police acted promptly as “the atmosphere is tense and the administration is strict about such cases”.

However, Kushinagar SP Vinod Kumar Singh denied the accusation of torturing the couple, saying: “It was not like the couple was brought to the police station in secret. Also, the matter was soon sorted… There was no reason to beat up anyone.”

“On Tuesday afternoon, Shabeela and I got married. After the ceremony, a small party was on when a police team arrived and said there had been no nikaah. They wouldn’t listen to anything and took us to the police station around 7.30 pm. There they let the cleric go after he changed his statement and said the nikaah wasn’t final yet,” Ali told The Indian Express.

“One of the policemen asked another to skin me… I tried to talk to them… When Shabeela heard me crying, she panicked. The policemen asked her about her family but she was scared. Only around 9 pm could I convince her to tell the police her brother’s number,” he added.