Love Jihad-Kerala woman’s conversion: Kalyan resident arrested in joint operation

The Kerala police in a joint operation with the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Friday night arrested Kalyan resident Rizwan Khan in connection with the alleged forced conversion of a Kerala woman to Islam. Khan was produced in court on Saturday, and the Kerala police were granted his transit remand till Monday.Officials said he runs a marriage bureau in south Mumbai. Khan came under the police scanner after his name emerged in the investigations into the alleged conversion of Merin Jacob alias Miriam, who was forced by her husband Bestin Vincent alias Yahya, himself a convert to Islam. Miriam’s conversion is alleged to have occurred through Arshid Qureshi, a guest relations officer with Islamist preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Organisation.“Qureshi’s interrogation revealed that the conversion and a subsequent nikaah between Miriam and Yahya, was conducted by Khan. His signatures were present on their marriage certificate,” said an ATS official.

Khan hails from Bazarpeth in Kalyan, where Areeb Majeed, Saheem Tanki, Fahad Sheikh and Aman Tandel were living before they fled to Syria in 2014. Majeed later returned to India and was arrested, while the other three are still believed to be with the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

The Maharashtra ATS is now investigating whether Khan was ever in touch with the four youths before they left for Syria. The agency is likely to seek his custody after the Kerala police are through with their investigation against him.