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Love Jihad : Truth or Propaganda

Posted by Admin on September 29, 2014 | Comment

Traditionally, the Indian society has not been very tolerant towards inter-caste or inter-religious marriage. While some sections have shown tacit resistance, others have gone to the extent of justifying ‘honour killing.’ Of late, a new term ‘Love Jihad’ has disturbed the social harmony. An alleged activity wherein Muslim youth feign love and use emotional appeals to entice non-Muslim girls into conversion. ‘Love Jihad’ is sought to be projected as an Islamist conspiracy to expand the community.

Love Jihad

History & Development of Love Jihad

The allegation of ‘Love Jihad’ first surfaced in September 2009 when incidents of forceful conversion were reported in Kerala and Karnataka. While Kerala Catholic Bishops Council claimed that up to 4,500 girls in the state were ‘targeted’ till October 2009, a Hindu organisation was of the opinion that 30,000 girls were converted in Karnataka alone.

The controversy was further fanned by a spate of incidents in 2011 and 2013. Gradually, the scope of such allegations expanded to the northern India and hinterland and reports came pouring in from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Kerala Muslim outfits such as Popular Front of India and the Campus Front are accused of being a party to this conspiracy. Although the Kerala Chief Minister informed the state legislature that 2667 young women were converted to Islam since 2006, he made it clear that there was no evidence to prove that they were forced conversions. Dispelling the fear, he added that allegations of Love Jihad were “baseless.” 

Police Response to Love Jihad

When Kerala police started probing into the allegations of Love Jihad, they couldn’t confirm the existence of any organisation conducting such campaigns. In late 2009, Kerala police chief admitted that though there were indications of large number of Hindu girls being converted to Muslim, there was no evidence to suggest that Muslim men were “feigning love” to lure women to convert to Islam. Once again in 2012, the Kerala police declared that alleged Love Jihad campaign had “no substance.” On the contrary, it initiated legal proceedings against the website hindujagruti.org for “spreading religious hatred and false propaganda.”

The issue resurrected in 2014 when allegations of Love Jihad resurfaced – this time in Uttar Pradesh. However, in most cases it was found that a Hindu girl and Muslim boy “married against their parents’ will.” The state police opined that “sporadic cases of trickery by unscrupulous men” couldn’t be used as an “evidence of a broader conspiracy.”

Responses to Love Jihad

It was in August 2014 that RSS launched ‘Rakhi drive’ to counter the alleged attempts of converting Hindu women into Muslim. This week-long campaign across Western Uttar Pradesh had only one objective – convincing Hindus that Muzaffarnagar riots and the gang rape incident in Meerut were the designs of the Muslim men.

Convinced that Love Jihad cases are rampant in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, ABVP, the student wing of RSS launched an awareness campaign to keep “the scourge from spreading.” As far as the road map for the campaign goes, the ABVP members will visit universities and colleges as a preventive measure to protect “unsuspecting Hindu women” from being tricked into religious conversion.

Recently, a BJP MLA in Madhya Pradesh has ordered party workers to ensure that Muslim youths are prevented from entering garba venues in her constituency. The MLA argued that the youths deceive the organisers by sporting tilak on their forehead and gain entry into the venue. According to her, Love Jihad is a part of the conspiracy to “distort population ratio in the country.” She planned to make voter identity cards mandatory for entry. The MLA also affirmed that the Muslim youths have to convert to Hinduism if they want to take part in the festival.