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Saturday, August 20, 2022

Law against love jihad sans Hindu unity won’t work

The country’s secular media, especially the anti-Bharat Lutyens brigade, is inclined to think that what goes by the name of “Love Jihad” is nothing but a figment of imagination in the minds of hardliners within the Sangh Parivar hellbent on targeting the Muslim community. With the Uttar Pradesh government passing the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance on November 24, the first conscious step has been taken to recognize a growing social menace which has dangerous demographic implications in the long-term.

The UP ordinance makes it compulsory that the district magistrate be informed two months before an impending inter-faith nuptial to ensure that the matrimonial ceremony is not a ruse to convert a Hindu bride. More than 100 such cases have been reported, an official spokesperson informed. A jail term of up to 10 years and penalties ranging from Rs 15k-50k have been fixed for those who fail to inform the collector. Other BJP ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, and Assam have decided to follow in the footsteps of chief minister Yogi Adityanath whose commitment to protecting Hindu interests is the purest.

Lack of facts and figures has been the main stumbling block in convincing the government on the need to put in place measures to check the unwholesome consequences of hastily conducted inter-religious marriages. To begin with there is a list of 60 incidents compiled by HinduPost and other agencies for the ready reference of doubting Thomas’ and self-loathing Hindus who care tuppence for the national interest.

Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor, a Janus-faced public intellectual enslaved to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, had cited about 40 lynching incidents in his book, the Hindu Way (2019), to establish the faux claim that Muslims were under physical attack by the majority community since Narendra Modi’s ascent to power. “Hindustan”, he implied, had transmogrified into “Lynchistan”. Going by the logic of his numbers, admirers of the loquacious silver-tongued Thiruvananthapuram MP should instantly accept the reality of love jihad. Especially since his home state, Kerala, is the operational base of the ISIS linked Popular Front of India (PFI). The front continues to stay overground despite its hand in both the Delhi and Bangalore riots, fomenting violence in minority institutions like Jamia Milia and the Aligarh Muslim University. The Union home ministry’s timorousness in banning the body has only emboldened it to fish in troubled political waters regardless of its geographical location.

Incidents like the October 27 shocker in which a Muslim youth, Tauseef, shot dead an 18-year-old girl, Nikita Tomar, outside her college in the Ballabgarh region of Haryana because she refused to convert to Islam as a precondition to betrothal are still considered exceptional. Those living in denial are mostly ignoramuses unacquainted with life in suburbia and towns with sizeable Muslim numbers. Cases of Hindu girls ensnared by lovelorn Muslim boys have been on the rise in the Delhi-NCR region, UP, Jharkhand, Gujarat, and Karnataka. Communist ruled Kerala is the perfect hub for the PFI. Turning a blind eye to its clandestine activities suits the CPM’s anti-BJP plank which the Front knows only too well.

It is surprising that even well-educated Hindus find it difficult to comprehend the reality of love jihad. Part of the problem lies with the branding which, admittedly, has a provocative roadside ring aimed at a community committed to holy war against infidels – which comprises every non-Muslim the world over. Speeches delivered by crazed Muslim leaders, religious and political, to their brethren make it amply clear that boosting their numbers lies at the core of the strategy to make ghazwa-e-Hind a reality. Luring Hindu girls into matrimony and getting them to convert to Islam raises social tensions and fear. This is exactly what the mullahs want. The decades long illegal immigration has been an effective tool. It paid dividends in Assam till the BJP ousted the Congress from power in 2016. Hence the vociferous opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register for Citizens. Outward allegiance to the Constitution of India is nothing more than a ploy. The subterfuge was witnessed during the three-month Shaheen Bagh agitation earlier this year. Seculars shed copious crocodile tears seeing the agitating road blockers sloganeer against the CAA brandishing copies of the Constitution.

Alas! legal deterrents in matters of the heart are limited in scope. Not for nothing do they say miyaan-biwi raazi toh kya karega qazi? If a Hindu girl is determined to marry a Muslim boy and adopt his religion regardless of the consequences there is nothing any legislative enactment, howsoever stringent, can do. That Hindus have traditionally been a weak and disunited lot only adds to the problem. The growing assertiveness of Muslims in states bordering Bangladesh and rise in Christian conversions in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, even Punjab should ordinarily have made them sit up. Had Hindus been even half as politically aware as the followers of the two Abrahamic religions, the incidence of love jihad could have been nipped in the bud.

Courts too are unwilling to see the big picture. The Allahabad HC’s observation on November 24 that the judgement delivered in two earlier cases involving inter-faith marriages was “not good law” is unfortunate. A different bench of the same court had in both instances observed that conversion for the purpose of marriage was not acceptable. No right-thinking person can nitpick with the view. Faith is not a piece of dress which you change when it does not suit your immediate interests.

For now, the only way to check love jihad is to ban Sharia marriages involving Hindu women, especially minors. Next, educate them on the downside of converting to Islam, especially the resulting loss in their personal space and rights. That marrying a non-Hindu need not be at the cost of surrendering their own religion and filial rights is something which needs to be dinned into them. This cannot happen overnight and without help from the community as a whole.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal will have enough work on their hands should the Sangh set it on the anti-love jihad trail.

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Sudhir Kumar Singh
Sudhir Kumar Singh
Sudhir Kumar Singh is an independent journalist who has worked in senior editorial positions in the Times Of India, Asian Age, Pioneer, and the Statesman. Also a sometime stage and film actor who has worked with iconic directors like Satyajit Ray and Tapan Sinha.


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