One of the six seized cars at Bel Air apartment (right) in Ranchi on Sunday. (Prashant Mitra)
Two flats in posh residential areas of Ranchi were sealed on Sunday after a national-level shooter accused her husband of hidden identity, forceful conversion attempt and physical assault spurred by faith obsession in a case insinuating ‘love jihad’, as coined by some Hindu groups, in the heart of Jharkhand.
The apartments — one opposite GEL Church Complex on Main Road and another in Ashoknagar — were rented by Ranjit Singh Kohli, alias Rakibul Hassan, who married ace shooter Tara Shahdeo on July 7 and allegedly tried to make her embrace Islam the same night.
City SP Anoop Birtharay said Kohli and his mother were absconding, and police had also seized six cars belonging to the family.
Kohli reportedly has an excellent rapport with several senior politicians and bureaucrats. While he amassed a fortune over the past few years, his business remains a mystery. The couple’s wedding reception album and CDs have been taken into custody for investigations.
“The charges levelled by Tara Shahdeo against her husband and in-laws are of serious nature. The family was Hindu Punjabi and we are still to ascertain when Kohli converted to Islam. We raided homes of some close relatives in different parts of the city, but failed to achieve any significant breakthrough. We have formed special teams and launched a manhunt,” the city SP said.
Three days ago, Tara — who is said to have won gold and silver medals at national shooting events in the past — had mustered courage to lodge a police complaint with the help of her family after more than a month of torment in the name of religion.
Tara met Kohli on shooting ranges where he came to see her practice every day. The couple got married in a grand ceremony at a Ranchi hotel and several big industrialists and politicians were said to have attended the event.
According to the complaint, on the first night of their marriage, Kohli called some two dozen Hajis and tried to force her to convert to Islam. Her constant refusal earned her domestic violence.
Tara came to know that her husband was a Muslim only when she saw him praying after their Hindu wedding. “He mounted continuous pressure on her for conversion. He tried to damage her spinal chord when she protested. There are burns and bruises all over her body,” Jharkhand State Commission for Women chairperson Mahua Maji said.
Maji, who has already had detailed discussions with Ranchi SSP Prabhat Kumar for Tara’s security, added that she would write to DGP Rajeev Kumar on Monday, seeking swift and smooth investigations.
“We have taken suo motu action. We are with Tara. It is difficult to believe that in today’s society, women are being subjected to such atrocities.”
Leaders of political parties like the BJP and state HRD minister Geetashree Oraon called on the shooting champ on Sunday to express their solidarity with her.
“Tara belongs to the Palkot royal family in Gumla, but was born and brought up in Ranchi. Her family stays in Kishoregunj. Kohli is a fraud who duped the young girl. We want him in jail,” said former deputy mayor and BJP leader Ajay Nath Shahdeo.
Saffron outfits like VHP, Shiv Sena and Hindu Jagaran Manch took out a torchlight procession on Sunday evening to announce a Ranchi bandh on Monday. Schools like DPS and DAV will remain open owing to scheduled exams. St Xavier’s has declared a holiday.