The Assam Police should chalk out a standard operating procedure to investigate cases of “love jihad”, the state’s Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said at an event on Friday.

“Love jihad” is a Hindutva conspiracy theory that Muslim men lure Hindu women into romantic relationships in order to convert them to Islam. The Union home ministry has told parliament that Indian law has no provision defining “love jihad”.

However, several Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states have used the idea as a plank to formulate laws against religious conversion. Hindutva groups in several states resort to mob violence and hate speech against Muslims under the garb of opposing “love jihad”.

On Friday, Sarma claimed that the major reason for forceful religious conversions was “love jihad”. The chief minister was addressing a conference in Bongaigaon attended by superintendents of police from across the state.

He said that the step would be in consonance with the government’s drive against child marriage and the bid to outlaw polygamy.

Earlier this month, Sarma had said that Assam would introduce a bill to ban polygamy – the practice of having more than one wife that is allowed under Muslim personal laws. Meanwhile, the crackdown against child marriage has been underway since February even as the Gauhati High Court observed that it had been causing havoc in the state.

On Friday, Sarma said that another operation against child marriage will be launched in September.

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