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IANS

A cleric and two others have been taken into custody after right-wing group members entered a mosque and stopped the alleged forced nikah of a 15-year-old Hindu girl in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district with a Hindu man.

Police have taken the cleric, the man with whom the marriage was being solemnised and the Muslim woman, who had raised the girl of Nepalese origin, into custody.

Members of the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) allegedly created a ruckus outside the mosque and the local police station.

The girl's father has lodged an FIR against the three for allegedly selling the girl.

Circle Officer (City) Ashutosh Pandey said the allegation has not been corroborated yet and further investigation is going on.

Initial investigation revealed that the girl belonged to Jyotipur village in Nepal's Rukangarhi district.

Her family, comprising her father and a sister, lived in the Azadnagar slums in Kanpur. The father had given the girl, now 15, to Lal Bano of Ganga Ghat eight years ago, and she raised the child.

According to reports, Phoolan Singh, 25, of Ferozabad allegedly trapped the girl and took her to the mosque on Rajdhani Road for the nikah.

Phoolan Singh allegedly asked Maulana Shamim Ahmad to perform the nikah. On finding that both of them were Hindus, the cleric initially refused. But Phoolan allegedly kept pressing the Maulana for the same.

In the meantime, dozens of HJM workers entered the mosque with the girl's father, alleging that the cleric was forcibly converting the girl and performing the nikah.

The Ganga Ghat police has taken Maulana Shamim, Lal Bano and Phoolan Singh into custody. They are being questioned.

The girl told the police that she was being forced into the marriage with a man she did not know and had never met him.

Lal Bano told the police that she was a Muslim and raised the Hindu girl like her own daughter.

Vimal Tiwari, regional secretary of HJM, said a team was sent after getting information about the "forced Nikah" of an underage girl by a maulvi with a youth of Firozabad.

The youth's mobile showed that money was being sent to him from various places, Tiwari said.

"It was abundantly clear that the youth wanted to sell the girl in Delhi after nikah," he added.

Meanwhile, Maulana Shamim said he was approached by one Nafees to offer prayers. When he reached the place, a youth asked him to perform his nikah with a girl who was with him. On learning about their religion, he flatly refused.

"While doing it, several people came and levelled allegations about religious conversion and forced nikah. How is it possible that I would perform the nikah of two Hindus?" he queried.

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