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Love Jihad – Political Bigotry or Hoax Proselytism?

In the last 3-4 months, I have been hearing and reading a lot about ‘Love Jihad.’ Everyone is talking about it, some in against and some in favor. When I was unaware of what does this term refers to, I thought it might be ‘someone struggling to bring their love into their life’ because Prophet Muhammad described Jihad as ‘to strive to the utmost for the achievement of purpose.’

On October 26, a case from Faridabad came into the picture where a girl was shot to death by a young Muslim boy on account of the one-sided love affair, it was alleged that it is a case of ‘Love Jihad‘. After reading this case I found out something is wrong with my interpretation of ‘Love Jihad’. On searching I found, the newspapers from the last two months i.e. September and October were filled with instances of love jihad from the different states. I concluded that ‘Love jihad is not the struggle to bring one’s love into their life but to force them to leave their faith or die in the name of love’. 

Though, it is believed that ‘everything is fair in love and war’ but we surely can’t allow ‘acid attack’ and ‘love jihad’ in the pursuance of the same. If it is just about a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy to fall in love and desire to get married why do we see women getting burned, raped, murdered, sold, and tortured just for refusing to accept an alien religion in the name of love.

It has been argued by the leftist or the liberals that it is fake propaganda that is being spread by the right-wing community just to divide the nation and disturb the communal harmony but the irony is these incidents are following a similar pattern and are coming on the forefront in a significant no. day by day. Now let’s figure out the scene behind the screen. 

Love Jihad – Reality or a Myth?

Before going into the details of its existence we need to clarify what comes to our mind when we hear love jihad. Though there is no any such definition of love jihad, in-fact no legislation recognizes it as a criminal activity and, thus giving a strict definition is not possible but in general  ‘Love jihad’ is seen as ‘an alleged activity where the young Muslim boys use emotional connections to trap Hindu girl into the net of fake love to convert them into Islam’. The concept of love jihad came into the limelight in 2009, since then the two sides are involved in the ongoing debate about the existence of love jihad. 

The liberals as always have a very ‘open-minded’ view on ‘love jihad’ they say “it is a magic of misinformation in ‘Hindutva networks’, that they pick up the stray incidents and weave them into a grand narrative. Few others claim that ‘it is just to keep up the power of patriarchy and to uphold that women should never be allowed to choose.” Then there comes the most caring and rational thinking people who are worried about ‘the right of the adult to choose’ and ‘marriage being a personal matter’ that state must not interfere with. Reading their arguments, I realized that our ‘blind law’ is vested in hands of ‘blind leaders’, forget about accepting any law against such practices they are not even ready to accept that it exists. I am quoting a few incidents here that will clarify their degree of blindness- 

  • Tara Shadeo, a national-level shooter from Jharkhand claimed that she married Ranjit Kohli as per Hindu ritual and, later on, it was found that he concealed his identity, he was Raqibul Hasan Khan. When she came to know about this, he insisted her to do ‘Nikaah’ and accept Islam and tortured her for the same
  • A girl from Bareilly reported that she met a boy in the gym named Golu who was sporting a ‘tika’ on his forehead and used to wear a ‘Raksha Sutra’ on his hand. Later on, it was found that he was a Muslim and he forced her to accept Islam and eat beef.
  • Recently in August 2020, a lady of 25 years, Hindu, reported that she married a man who introduced himself as Goldie who was a Muslim named Nizamuddin who concealed his identity before marrying and impregnating her. When she came to know his reality she resented. He started torturing her to accept Islam and threw her out of the home when she was pregnant. 
  • On 4th August a case was filed by a Hindu girl who accused Anwar alias Anu of rape, fraud, intimidation, and illegal marriage. The accused introduced himself as a Hindu and raped her for several months then forced her to accept Islam and get married later he refused to take her with himself. 
  • A case from Madhya Pradesh where a Hindu girl accused Shaukat Ali and four others of torturing and exploiting her. She claimed that the man introduced himself as a Kashmiri Hindu named Sahil and lure her for marriage after she married, he forced her to convert to Islam and physically assaulted her.
  • On September 12, a Hindu lady committed suicide, she was married to a Muslim named Aftab Siddique of Lucknow, the husband along with his family was forcing Pooja to accept Islam for a long time that she was tired of to end this hustle she hanged herself to death.
  • A 19 years old girl from Kerala was raped by her 21 years old classmate and her nude pictures were clicked and he threatened her that he will upload these pictures on social media if she refused to accept Islam. 

If I will go on enlisting all the cases my article will end up being a newspaper especially reporting cases of ‘love jihad’. These are merely a few cases from the past few months. Not only the young women have been the victim of this, in several cases, but minor girls were involved. In-fact there have been more than 20 cases in the last 2 to 3 months that followed the similar pattern of concealing identity followed by marriage and then torture to convert into Islam. Now I don’t find myself wrong in calling these pseudo-secular and fake liberals ‘blind’. Their arguments are as shallow as the way they are trying to ignore the rising menace of ‘love jihad’.

The series of such conversions are not limited to Hindu women but many Christian women from Kerala became its victim. Forget about women of another religion countries other than India are also facing instances of forced conversion, in-fact a British newspaper in 2007 also reported about how police prevented girls from forced conversion to Islam and the recruiters from radical Islam being paid for the same. No doubt there are thousands of real, fair and, the successful love life of a Hindu or women from different religion and a Muslim man but under the garb of this we cannot ignore the reality that the Radical Islamic elements are using deception and proselytizing as a means of propagating their religion.  

Do we need a Law to tackle the menace?

After a long discussion over the existence of love jihad, there is no doubt that such practices do exist. It might be not in an organized way like a sex racket as no shreds of evidence found to prove that the Muslim youths who indulge in this are getting funded or brainwashed from any organization or state but at the individual level yes, they do exist. The way these cases are rising it becomes the responsibility of a nation to ensure that this must not take the form of a ‘well-known crime’ which in the future will swallow many lives and the future of our youth. 

Recently, 5 states ruled by BJP including U.P, M.P, and Assam have represented their intention to make strict laws against this. In furtherance of the design, an ordinance against ‘love jihad’ has been passed by the Yogi Government of Uttar Pradesh on 24th November, under which the onus will fall on the defendant to prove that the conversion is not for the purpose of marriage and it is neither forceful nor malicious. Failing to prove which, the person can be subjected to imprisonment for 1-5 years. The imprisonment can of 3-10 years if the woman belongs to SC/ST community and the notice of such conversion should be given to the district magistrate two months prior to the conversion. This step has been taken to ensure justice for women and to reduce such unlawful conversions.

The opposition is worried about ‘the rights given to the adult to choose’ but they need to understand that the choice here must not be derived through any sort of force, misrepresentation, fraud, incitement, provocation or, any other illegal means.

Their concern is also extended to the privacy of the couple as marriage is a matter of personal liberty but what they are ignorant of is the duty of the state to ensure the security, welfare, and safety of its citizen, women especially. They are arguing about the freedom of religion as a fundamental right but their interpretation is in the wrong direction.

An anti-Love Jihad Hindu Girl holds a placard during a protest against “Love Jihad”, in New Delhi. Photo by Anil Kumar Shakya

Article 25 of the Constitution of India gives the right to follow any religion by one’s own choice or consent it doesn’t give the right to convert others into your religion rather, it talks about the propagation of religion and surely the conversion done in love jihad is not a propagation. One who wants to convert by his/her own choice must be allowed to do so but the way a man is marrying women just for her property is difficult to prove similarly the marriage done is solely for the conversion is difficult to prove. Thus, it is very important to devise a way that can check over the malice involved in such marriages.   

The complexity of the law that the states are trying to introduce cannot be resolved so easily. We have the Special Marriage Act that requires no conversion for marriage still, we are facing such a situation this simply says that we need to make the facility under this act easily accessible and friendly. Enactment law to completely stop conversion is not the aim of the state but to check if the conversion is forceful or not. There is no smoke without fire and if there is a fire preventing its spread is a necessity. 

Conclusion

‘The cry of religion is a dangerous cry’, it denominates, it divides, and encamps people to warring ways.

Loknath Mishra

We are facing a very complex problem that has three things together; the trapped innocent women, politics, and religion. Neither we can win absolutely nor can we surrender. If we want to tackle this problem, we need to maintain a balance and ensure that no innocent couple gets targeted in the name of ‘love jihad’.

It is important to find a solution to this problem as early as possible because letting it go or any sort of delay will increase its complexity as the political wolves are ready in the sheep’s clothing to use it, as always, to fulfill their political ends. It is easy to call them a stray incident but just put yourself at the place of the victim and their family now do you find it a stray incident?

No one should be allowed to take the privilege of their malicious intention. If we do not take such incidents with a pinch of salt, not only the women will fall prey to this but innocent Muslim youth will be tagged as ‘Jihadi’ with love in eyes and hate in heart.


Editor’s Note
Love Jihad’ is a term which has gained prominence in the recent past, due to the various alleged incidents that have taken place over the last couple of months. Some of the state governments, like the Uttar Pradesh state government, have proposed the idea of making laws that would outlaw and penalize the same.

However, the problem persists in the front that it is not yet confirmed how many of such alleged cases of ‘love jihad’ happen to be genuine, and how many are simply results of religious bigotry. The present article discusses the same, in the light of the recent incidents that have been reported in the last 3-4 months, and tries to find ways of striking a balance between preventing such crimes in the name of religion, while also upholding a consenting adult’s right to marry whoever they want, irrespective of faith.

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