The BJP continued with its anti-Muslim and anti-Islam remarks and actions calling incidents of inter-faith marriages derogatorily as “love jihad” by linking Muslims and their religion to the cause of such incidents by insinuating a “strategy” of theirs or their religion behind such incidents. The BJP governments in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and UP in particular, have not only called such incidents as cases of “love jihad” and probed them, without success and without achieving their desired outcomes, but are now also proposing to bring a law to criminalise, and disparagingly so, a fiendish and imaginary idea (that could only come to their minds) of “love jihad” in their states to send Muslim men to jail. The BJP’s hateful plans which are only among the many that started with “ghar wapsi”, name changes of popular cities, stations, roads and so on are simply illustrative of the party’s hateful and Islamophobic stance against Muslims and their religion.
Muslims have also been “targeted” for being “outsiders” or “ghuspeti” by powerful leaders and Ministers in BJP government that initiated a long, planned exercise to “throw” “outsiders” out of the country. Many of them have also been held responsible and jailed for spreading a virus that began in China and suffered by the entire world. And now by proposing to bring law for “love jihad” – a very derogatory remark targeted at Muslims– the BJP is not only promoting hatred against Muslims, their religion in the society but also continuing with its apparent agenda of either ejecting many of them out or imprisoning them – whether under UAPA or by even criminalising instances of divorce.
Cases and inquiries of “love jihad” against Muslim men have already crumbled after probe agencies established – after thorough probes – that individuals had married of their own wish and consent and were not “forced” into marriages as the government had alleged. Dozens of cases the police were investigating in Kanpur also collapsed, and a final closure report was filed after the police concluded that these were consensual relationships between Hindu women and their Muslim partners, police said. In UP the police had created Special Investigation Team or SIT to probe alleged cases of “love jihad”. A strident pronouncement even came from UP’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who warned that those who practise “love jihad” will be sent on their “antim sanksar” or last rites. Madhya Pradesh home minister Narottam Mishra has said that a ‘love jihad bill’, which includes five years of rigorous imprisonment for ‘violators’, will soon be introduced in the state assembly. Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior congress leader Ashok Gehlot rightly pointed out that such law would be struck down by any court. “Love Jihad is a word manufactured by BJP to divide the Nation & disturb communal harmony. Marriage is a matter of personal liberty, bringing a law to curb it is completely unconstitutional & it will not stand in any court of law. Jihad has no place in love”, he asserted.
Behind the right-wing’s conspiracy theory of “love jihad” and even their “ghar wapsi” programme is the false belief that Islam was spread by force in India with many leaders openly saying that Muslims in India were Hindus, and as per the theory Islam is still being spread through forceful conversions and Muslim men were trying to seduce non-Muslim women to convert them to Islam. Such ideas can only crop up in the minds of those who do not know that Islam forbids forceful conversions, that conversion to faith without actually believing in it is no faith at all.
The “love jihad” remark itself is not only insulting, disparaging of Muslims and their religion but it also hurts their religious sentiments and beliefs as proponents of that theory deliberately, maliciously and wrongly define “jihad” as something connected to extremism or something as low as forcing one into marriage for religious propagation. Such statements promote enmity against a section of the people in the society and divide people on the basis of religion and faith. These are tantamount to religious crimes of hate against Muslims. Independent courts would be right in taking suo motu cognizance in such cases.
As BJP leaders propose to bring laws on “love jihad” against Muslim men, the country witnessed a violent and outrageous crime in Bihar where a Muslim woman was burnt to death by a Hindu man and his friends for rejecting his marriage proposal. While the horrendous crime deserves full and swift punishment under law, should it now be treated as an act by followers of Hindu religion against follower of Islam? Was this a result of the frequent instigations made by politicos against followers of other religions? Will courts use their extraordinary jurisdiction in protecting and preserving national harmony, protecting constitutional rights, against divisive leaders and their parties?