Love jihad is basically a conspiracy theory popularized by right-wing Hindu organizations. It states that Muslim men are trying to trick Hindu girls into falling for them. Eventually marrying them and attempting to convert them. This is suggested to instill hate within the Hindu community and has no legal basis or truth to it. It is purely fictional yet many of the Hindu majority believe in this lie. There are multiple instances where parents of women have lied about how their daughters were misled, threatened, or indoctrinated. This is in fact false in most cases and is used by parents to save face in the community and to protect their daughters from Muslims. The women who marry out of their religion are also harassed and subject to threats from others in the community. To stop them from marrying outside of their religion.
This can be seen in the form of acid attacks and killings of women and increases the need for security. Now I do not know if it in fact is a conspiracy theory however I do know that there are cases in which reports have been falsified. This causes people to believe that it is not a serious issue and also makes it less likely for people to believe in any real cases. The Kanpur case of Shalini Yadav for example was clearly a choice and not forceful. However, the falsified reports of her mother have to make one think if lies are being used to falsely charge Muslim men. This is due to the intolerance of the parents and the culture and must be stopped so that the real cases can come to the front rather than fake reports.
Ballabgarh Student Killing Case
Nikita Tomar, a 21-year-old woman was killed outside her college in Haryana, Ballabgarh. The crime was committed on October 26th and this crime is termed as a love jihad case. Two men are accused, one of them from Sohna, Gurgoan, and another from Nuh. The woman was harassed by one of the convicted who she rejected. He was also forcing her to change her religion. This was a shameful instance of revenge killing and proves that this is a personal crime by immoral and evil men.
Kerela Hadiya case
This was a case ruled by the Indian high court in 2017. The High court ruled the marriage between Hadiya and Shafin, null and void as they believed it was a case of love jihad. The girl was asked to change her religion before she was married and Hadiya reported she had no love affair with Shafin. This case was eventually ruled in the favor of the couple by the Supreme court. That is against the high court ruling.
In August, The mother of Shalini Yadav filed a police complaint stating that her daughter was taken away at gunpoint. Her mother also reported that her daughter was forcibly converted to Islam and that he was being forced into prostitution. On August 11 however, Shalini made a video stating that she married the man of her own free will. Shalini insists that her mother is prejudiced and that she has no proof to support her claims. This is a case of falsifying data due to the bigotry of the accuser. She is blinded by hate and is making conspiracy theories to support her claims.
The accused Shamshad was arrested on 23rd July for killing a mother-daughter duo and burying them. Shamshad is accused of changing his name and marrying Priya and lived with her and her daughter Vanshika for 5 years. They later realized that he was a Muslim and she started drifting away from him. On March 28, after continuous fighting, Shamshad killed both of the victims and buried them in the courtyard of their house. When he was arrested, the police also found a pistol, two live bullets, and a motorcycle which were all confiscated.
The Tanishq controversy
The major jewelry brand Tanishq made an advertisement that focused on an inter-religion marriage. They received many threats from both sides of the religious spectrum to support and were accused of encouraging love jihad. Police patrolling was provided to the Tanishq store in Gujrat where they received a large number of angry customers. The owner was also threatened. There was however no attacks on the store according to the police officers on duty.
Bjp supports this conspiracy theory and plans on pushing laws against love jihad in states like Karnataka. They are met by widespread opposition and people questioning If this law is required or is it a pawn in their game to build a Hindu Muslim divide. Critics also believe that this is used as a distraction to pull media coverage away from the effects of coronavirus, especially in rural India.
As a result of these crimes, Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh put forth a threat. He used the Indian funeral chant, Ram Naam Satya Hai to threaten the Muslim population in order to prevent any more cases of Love Jihad. He also said that the posters of all involved in love jihad will be put on the streets so that they may be targeted and put to justice.
In my opinion, all people have a right to marry out of their religions. Muslim women are allowed to marry Hindu men and vice versa. Also, there must be cases of Hindu men harming Muslim girls, which do not receive as much attention from media. This does not mean that there is a jihad by Hindu men against Muslim women. The people are to blame, the individuals who do this are to blame, not the religious group. We can not believe this conspiracy theory which has no legal precedent. The people who falsify reports to frame others must be punished severely for doing so.
Now I must say, I do believe that cases of religion-related violence are true and the perpetrators can be Muslim as well as Hindu. Those people regardless of their religion should be punished severely for that. To deal with this issue we can not target entire religious communities. We must target the individuals who commit these crimes and support women to come forward if they are subject to such crimes. We must deal with such cases individually and can not create blanket laws to encompass all inter-religion marriages.
SEO VARSHA SINGH
GRAPHICS BY DEEPTI BHATNAGAR