#LoveJihadExposed: Political Tool Or Reality?

Love Jihad is allegedly marriage between a Muslim man and a non-Muslim woman where the latter is lured by the former for the same and then forced to convert to ensure spreading of their religion.

It was quite surprising to see Bhartiya Janata Party drop any mention of ‘Love Jihad’ from its political resolution as its two-day state executive meet concluded in Meerut on Sunday.

Barely a week ago, the matter was fanned with utmost importance and had touched many nerves.

‘Love Jihad’ – identified as an issue across the country by some section of people – is allegedly marriage between a Muslim man and a non-Muslim woman where the latter is lured by the former for the same and then forced to convert to ensure spreading of their religion.

The issue was first identified in the south Indian states where some instances of women being forced to convert after marrying Muslim men had come to the fore. In October 2009, the Karnataka government had announced its intentions to counter “Love Jihad”, which “appeared to be a serious issue”.

A week after the announcement, the government ordered a probe into the situation by the CID to determine if an organised effort existed to convert these girls and, if so, by whom it was being funded.

One woman whose conversion to Islam came under scrutiny as a result of the probe was temporarily ordered to the custody of her parents, but eventually permitted to return to her new husband after she appeared in court, denying pressure to convert.

In April 2010, police used the term to characterize the alleged kidnapping, forced conversion and marriage of a 17-year-old college girl in Mysore. But the whole idea of ‘Love jihad’ was discarded by the several official investigations which were launched to probe it.

After the series of incidences of rape, violence against women, eve-teasing and inter-religion marriages in Uttar Pradesh, the issue was once again in news last year. In fact, the Muzaffarnagar riots were completely based on such allegations.

The recent news of Meerut rape and forced conversion of a girl to Islam strengthened such idea which forced the state BJP to take note of it. However, other parties have been discarding it and the critics have been calling it a political tool created by BJP to consolidate its base against the ruling Samajwadi Party led by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

In his inaugural address on Saturday, state party chief Laxmikant Bajpai had asked youths to be vigilant on the issue of ‘love jihad’, questioning whether men of the minority community have got the licence to convert and rape women of majority community.

Meanwhile, Akhilesh Yadav said it was not possible to put restrictions on love affairs.

According to Indian Express, he asked: “Just tell me, is it possible to ban love affairs in today’s world? Is it possible to ban interaction between two persons? Is it possible to stop introduction between two persons?”

According to the report, Akhilesh regretted that several “love affairs” were given a “wrong twist” by media and the BJP. “Whatever incidents have occurred in UP, all have been politicised. International news has been made. Even people in the UN and the US became aware about UP. The reality is out in the Badaun killings case. Whom shall I write to as the CM? Shall I write to UN or US on personal basis or follow the protocol?” he added.

He further said that in most of the incidents, the accused and the victim were known to each other. Despite that, allegations were made. “Even in Faizabad incident, which was blown up, they (the girl and the youth) knew each other,” he added.

The CM also called for a CBI inquiry into “persons of a political party who were in constant touch (with the victim’s kin)”.

Well, Akhilesh seems to be missing the point.

BJP is also saying that the victim and the perpetrator in such cases know each other. It is just that the motive of the male in the situation is to marry the girl and convert her to Islam for the expansion of the religion.

Now if BJP is working at the behest of its saffron clad luminaries without base, it is surely a matter of disgust. The issue is indeed sensitive and may lead to communal tensions as already seen in case of Muzaffarnagar.

But, political tool or not, the cases in the past have almost proved that there are such sentiments whose whiff had been caught by the police.

Now it is onto the Akhilesh government to be brave and check again whether the rumour has some substance to it.

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