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VALSAD: Police have arrested a 23-year-old resident of Gujarat’s Valsad district from Madhya Pradesh under the newly-notified Gujarat law which penalises forcible or fraudulent religious conversion through marriage, an official said on Sunday.

The accused, Imran Ansari, allegedly kidnapped a 19-year-old woman from his neighbourhood in Vapi city of Valsad with the intention of marrying her after forcing her to convert her religion, he said.

He was held on Sunday under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act-2021, which came into force on June 15 lays down stringent punishment for forcible conversion through marriage.

The accused was also booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her for marriage), 376 (2) (rape), and 506 (2) (criminal intimidation), Vapi town police station’s inspector B J Sarvaiya said.

The woman’s mother filed a missing person’s complaint on June 10, following which police teams launched a probe and zeroed-in on the accused, he said.

Through technical surveillance and checking of CCTV footage, it was found the victim was with the man at Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

A team from here, with the help of MP police, managed to bring the woman back to Vapi, the official said.

“The victim, in her statement to police, said the accused lured her into a relationship and started forcing her for marriage.

The accused also threatened to kill her brother if she failed to comply.

The accused is already married, but was still pressuring the victim for marriage and religious conversion,” Sarvaiya said.

He first took the woman to Ajmer in Rajasthan and then to Indore, where he tried to forcibly get married to her.

He also allegedly had physical relations with the victim against her wishes, the official said.

Earlier, the Gujarat police on Friday said they had registered the first FIR in the state under the newly-notified law and arrested a 26-year-old man in Vadodara.