AHMEDABAD: A 32-year-old Hindu man wanting to convert to Islam has moved the Gujarat HC for redress after being kept waiting more than a year for permission to change his religion, as mandated by the state’s anti-conversion law.
Jignesh Patel, a marketing executive based in south Gujarat’s Bharuch, said in his petition that the district collector had withheld permission for him to officially become a practising Muslim despite an “inquiry” by the Bharuch sub-divisional magistrate establishing that he was under no pressure from anyone to convert. Patel had submitted his application to the district collector along with a full disclosure, including signed affidavits from his mother Vilasben and sister Sejalben, on November 26, 2019. He stated in the declaration that nobody had forced or lured him into deciding to change his faith.
Patel mentioned in the application that he had been living like a Muslim for six years, including fasting during Ramzan, offering namaz and following other rituals associated with the religion. The application was supported by an affidavit from Imran Patel, the person who was to preside over the originally scheduled conversion on January 1, 2020. The district collector never responded to his request, Patel told the high court.
Advocate MT Saiyad, who filed the petition on his behalf, said the inquiry report filed by the sub-divisional magistrate in February 2020 gave “a favourable opinion that Patel may be granted permission for conversion”. The HC has since directed the collector to take an informed decision on Patel’s application within eight weeks.

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