The Love-Jihad is not a brand new conspiracy. It has always been a communal agenda for political parties for ages. But a sudden outburst has inherited the limelight after a recent incident that took place in Uttar Pradesh where police received information that supported a hoax regarding an interfaith couple. Rumor said a Muslim man was marrying a Hindu woman after converting her to Islam. The man was allegedly beaten by the police.
LOVE JIHAD: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CONCEPT
Love-Jihad is additionally famously referred to as Romeo-Jihad. According to Hindu fundamentalists, Love-Jihad or Romeo-Jihad is said to be a conspiracy theory being spread by the Muslim community targetting Non-Muslim women to convert into Islam by means like marriage, trickery, kidnapping, or in the name of affection and love for their demographic growth and domination of the community. As per the sources, an unauthorized organization is the main head behind this alleged conspiracy. Muslim youth men have claimed to receive funds and other perks to lure women to marry them.
This conspiracy theory has been perceived to correlate with the Nazi themes of Jewish world domination, Euro-American Islamophobia, White Nationalist conspiracy theories, including the Muzaffarnagar Riots, etc.
A propaganda campaign was launched in 2009 by two Hindutva Publications Sanata Prabhat and Hindu Janajagriti to shield women from Muslim men. Organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had been credited for their proliferation in India and Abroad additionally.
The theory of Love Jihad has flourished in Uttar Pradesh by 2014 and contributed to the grand success of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) campaign within the state.
The concept of Love Jihad came into belief after the big win of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Hindu activists have cautioned Hindu women to strictly avoid Muslim men. Lately, an influential organization called Akhil Bharatiya Vaishya Ekta Parishad pushed to prohibit the use of mobile phones among young women to restrict such vulnerable activities.
ROLE OF MEDIA
While the technology has skyrocketed over the years and took part in various controversies, news and infotainment media have always displayed positive as well as negative impacts among the audiences.
Well-known right-wing television media like Republic TV, Times Now, and social media have spread the anti-Love-Jihad movement and held massive popularity. Several Hindu-Muslim fundamentalists and panel experts have given an impression to debate this controversy.
Social media platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc have been flooded with different opinions as well as threats to the respective religions. On the opposite hand, anti-muslim blogs and e-magazines like FrontPage Magazines, Jihad Watch, OpIndia, Politically Incorrect, Rebel News, WikiIslam, etc have become popular. It describes the anti-muslim ideology.
The hate tends to spread socially as well as virtually.
Amidst the feud, a video went viral all over India, showing a bunch of men with orange scarves draped around their necks, teasing a woman in the northern state in the province of Uttar Pradesh. One of the men in the video has been seen scolding the woman “Because of individuals such as you, a law like this had to be enacted”. Sources said the men belong to Bajrang Dal, a group deems to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This incident happened to take place on the 5th of December. The Bajrang Dal members handed this 22 years old lady, her husband, and his brother to the U.P police. They sent the lady to a shelter and arrested the men.
Lately, the woman who was seven weeks pregnant, alleged she suffered a miscarriage while in custody. While giving an interview, she has accused the staff at the shelter of mistreating her and said her initial complaints of stomach pain were ignored by the authority. On 11th December they took her to the hospital when her condition deteriorated. After a set of blood tests, they gave her an injection and that resulted in bleeding. She was given more injections, her bleeding increased and her health worsened, leading to the loss of her baby.
The shelter authority has denied all allegations and therefore hospital continues to be unclear what caused her miscarriage.
MORE RELATED INCIDENTS OF LOVE JIHAD
The first case of Love-Jihad came into existence in September 2009 in Kerala, Mangalore, and therefore the coastal region of Karnataka. According to the Kerala Catholic Bishop Council, up to 45,000 girls have been targeted by October 2009 but Hindu Janajagriti Samiti claimed that 30,000 girls had been converted to Islam in Karnataka alone.
In May 2007, the Kerala High Court annulled an inter-faith marriage of a converted Hindu woman named Akhila alias Hadia to a Muslim man named Shafeen Jahan. Her father made several allegations against the marriage on the grounds that neither the bride’s parents were present in the marriage, nor they have given consent to the marriage. Akhila claimed she was following Islam since 2012 and left her home willingly and with free consent.
Lately, in 2018 the court made clear that the marriage between Shafin Jahan and Hadiya shall not form a subject matter of the investigation and the couple seeks to lead their lives as law-abiding citizens.
In the year 2020, several cases of Love Jihad have been noticed, the Syro Malabar Church took a stand against Love Jihad. Consistent with them, Christian women are being targeted and sent to Islamic countries, making them sex slaves or perhaps being killed if they resist.
Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference Commission for Social Harmony and Vigilance conducted that there have been 4,000 instances of Love-Jihad between 2005-2012 respectively.
4.POLITICS AND LOVE-JIHAD
The love-Jihad debate has progressed in India after the recent anti-conversion ordinances occurred in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Hindu right-wing leaders did not like the idea of inter-faith marriage. They started winding up campaigns and made the thought of separated nations for Hindus and Muslims. Political parties claim that Muslim men target vulnerable Hindu women into marriage for forceful religious conversion and sexual exploitation. But no evidence has been found.
Political construction has created a division between the two communities, i.e. Hindu and Muslim which causing unwanted intolerance within the nation. Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh state governments had decided to take the Love-Jihad matter into their own hands and provide a legal validation to the social injustice. On 25th November 2020, Consecutively four states Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party came together to stop the forceful conversion through marriage and put an end to Love-Jihad.
Therefore, the proposed law in Uttar Pradesh which incorporates a provision against unlawful religious conversion declared marriage as null and void if the only intention of the marriage was to alter the girl’s religion. This proposed law was approved in Uttar Pradesh on 28th November and in Madhya Pradesh proposed a sentence of up to 10 years in prison for people who break the law.
THE SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT, 1954
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 deals with inter-caste or interfaith marriages,
When the boy and the girl aspiring to marry one another but do not belong to the same religion, their marriage may be solemnized under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Christians, or Jews can perform their marriage under the Special Marriage Act,
Any Indian residing Abroad,
Any Indian irrespective of any religion,
Inter religion marriages are performed under this act,
This act applies to all Indian states, except Jammu & Kashmir
Therefore, this Act not only applies to every Indian citizen who belongs to different castes and religions but also to Indian citizens who live abroad.
The marriage may be solemnized at the specified marriage office,
Marriage is not binding on the parties until both the parties states “I, (A) take thee, (B) to be my lawfully wedded wife/Husband” in the presence of the marriage officer and the witnesses,
The marriages performed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 is a civil contract accordingly, no ceremonies or rites required for the solemnization of the marriage,
The parties must file with the district’s Marriage Registrar a notice stating their intention to marry each other in which at least one party to the marriage has lived for at least thirty (30) days before the date on which such notice is filed. After the expiry of 30 days from the date that such notice was filed, the marriage is then said to be solemnized,
The marriage requires three witnesses.
CONDITIONS FOR MARRIAGE
The marriage should be completely monogamous for both parties, In other words, each party should not be involved should have no other subsisting valid marriage,
Each party should attain the age of majority. The groom must be at least 21 years old; the bride must be at least 18 years old,
The parties should not fall into the category of prohibited relationship,
Each party should be of sound mind, and consent of both, the bride and groom are equally required.
LATEST JUDGEMENT ON ANTI-LOVE-JIHAD LAWS
“If the Allahabad high court is going to decide the cases, why should we interfere?” – S.A BOBDE, CHIEF JUSTICE OF INDIA
Allahabad High Court has given rulings favorable to interfaith couples and had granted protection to more than 125 such couples after the Prohibition of the Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance brought by the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath attempting to criminalize forced religious conversion on paper.
On January 6, S.A Bobde along with the comprising justices V. Ramasubramanium and A.S Bopanna had refused to stay the ‘Love-Jihad’ laws brought by the Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana government. The court refused the proposed law on the ground of Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, which gives an individual the right to move the Supreme Court for enforcement of fundamental rights.
The Supreme Court condemned the Kerala High Court decision by stating that this was a curtailment of freedom of choice and liberty of individuals according to article 21 of the Indian Constitution, every person has a right to marry as per their own choice and consent. Subsequently, Supreme Court held Hadiya and Shafin Jahan’s marriage as a remarkable precedent and said it was legally right against the Indian Patriarchal belief system.
Therefore, the Supreme Court also added that passing such a law will lead to serious repercussions and it backfires our constitution.
Despite India reaching such great heights, we Indians are still stuck with the Hindu-Muslim feud. Urban couples of India are stepping out from the arranged marriage zone and choosing their life partners, sometimes beyond the religious limit, and our constitution and the previous government had no objection.
However, the right-wing Hindu groups under the Modi government have been harassing interfaith couples in the name of ‘Love-Jihad’.Campaigns took place, groups of activists and NGOs have spoken against this tide of vigilantism. Regional courts have questioned the basis and validation of this racist law.
The Supreme Court of India had refused to stay on the anti-love-jihad law goes against our constitution and it will lead to various serious repercussions among the Hindu-Muslim communities.
Henceforth, a fragile topic like ‘Love-Jihad’ should not be subjected by any political parties. It is very important to end this religious feud against both communities. As a citizen of India, it is our utmost responsibility to uphold the core value of the Indian Constitution and maintain harmony and peace among different religions in India.
NAME OF THE AUTHOR -SRESTHA DUTTA CHOWDHURY
COLLEGE- KINGSTON LAW COLLEGE (KEI)
YEAR OF STUDY- 2ND