Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Friday held a meeting with senior police officers here and asked them to take stern action against "love jihad."
"People of different faiths co-exist peacefully in Uttarakhand but things like love jihad will not be tolerated. Crimes like these were being committed as part of a conspiracy. But people are coming out openly against them now," Dhami told reporters here.
He said he held a meeting with senior police officers here to get feedback on steps taken in connection with "love jihad" incidents reported recently from different parts of the state.
Nearly half a dozen incidents of attempted abduction of minor Hindu girls by Muslim men who hid their religious identity to befriend them have been reported from Uttarkashi, Chamoli, and Haridwar districts in the past few weeks.
Dhami said the number of people coming out in the open against "love jihad" reflects a growing awareness about crimes of this nature.
"Awareness about love jihad is growing. That is why more such incidents have come to the fore over the past two-three months. One reason of this is introduction of a severe anti-conversion law," the Chief Minister said.
"Instructions have been given to the police to deal sternly with the guilty in love jihad cases. They have also been asked to conduct verification drives from time to time to look into the antecedents of people coming from outside and settling here," he said.
The meeting was attended by DGP Ashok Kumar and Additional Chief Secretary Radha Raturi.
On May 26, two men including a Muslim allegedly tried to abduct a Hindu girl in Purola of Uttarkashi.
The incident met with rage by the people of the town and nearby areas, with several of them hitting the streets in protest led by Hindu right outfits.
Though the girl was rescued and the accused sent to judicial custody, tension is yet to subside as similar incidents have been reported from Mori area of Uttarkashi and Gauchar in Chamoli district too.
There have been protests in Barkot, Chinyalisaur, and Bhatwari as well.
Many shops in Purola owned by Muslims have been closed for nearly a fortnight.
Posters were glued on these shops asking their owners to leave the town ahead of a Mahapanchayat slated to be held on June 15.
An ultimatum to Muslim traders to vacate their shops has also been served in Nainbagh by Vyapar Mandal and Hindu Yuva Vahini.
Many Muslim traders have packed their bags and left Uttarkashi district out of fear.
Among them is BJP's Uttarkashi district minority cell president Mohammad Zahid who ran a garment shop in Purola.
-With PTI Input