Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Saturday said the government will make laws to curb “love jihad”, citing Allahabad High Court’s observation on religious conversion for the purpose of marriage, reported ANI. “Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory espoused by right-wing Hindu activists alleging that Hindu women are forcibly converted by Muslims through marriage.
He said that the Allahabad High Court said in its judgement that religious conversion should not be done for marriage. “The government is taking a decision to stop ‘love jihad’,” he said at a rally. “We will make an impactful legislation. I warn those who conceal their identity and play with our sisters’ respect. If you don’t mend your ways, your ‘Ram naam satya’ journey will begin.” The term refers to a chant associated with Hindu funerals.
“The posters of those involved in love jihad will be put on all road crossings,” he said, according to PTI. The chief minister further said “Mission Shakti” programme is meant to ensure safety, security and honour of women but that if anyone dares to indulge in any misadventure, the “Operation Shakti” is underway.
He added that the Allahabad High Court’s verdict will be followed and the honour and dignity of women will be ensured.
In its Friday order, the High Court cited a 2014 order passed by the same court, where a batch of writ petitions was dismissed in a similar case. The court said it was not inclined to interfere in the matter under Article 226 of the Constitution, which enables a High Court to grant a writ petition.
In the 2014 judgement, the Allahabad High Court had dismissed a batch of writ petitions filed by a couple to seek protection as they had tied the knot after the woman converted from Hinduism to Islam and then performed the nikah or marriage. “Whether conversion of the religion of a Hindu girl at the instance of a Muslim boy, without any knowledge of Islam or faith and belief in Islam and merely for the purpose of marriage [nikah] is valid,” the court had asked then.
Without using the term “love jihad”, the court had also said that if the conversion is not “inspired by religion feeling” and is done “with the object of creating a ground for some claim of right...the conversion shall not be bonafide”.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs had on February 4 told the Lok Sabha that there was nothing defined as “love jihad” under current laws in the country. However, the term is frequently used.
Recently, a jewellery brand Tanishq pulled an advertisement featuring a baby shower for an inter-faith couple after it was vociferously criticised by Hindutva supporters on social media for allegedly promoting “love jihad”. The company said it had made the decision “keeping in mind... the well-being of our employees, partners and store staff”.
On October 20, National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma sparked a controversy on social media, after she met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and discussed “rise in love jihad cases” with him. Sharma spoke to the governor about the distinction between consensual inter-faith marriages and “love jihad” and said that the latter required attention.
The row over the “love jihad” tweet snowballed as Twitter users dug out controversial tweets Sharma had posted over the years. “Will NSW take cognizance of these demeaning tweets made on women by its chairperson?” said AltNews Co-founder Mohammed Zubair, tweeting screenshots from Sharma’s handle. Twitter users said that some of Sharma’s tweets were misogynistic and Islamophobic.
Amid the fracas, Sharma restricted access to her Twitter handle. Later, she claimed that her account was hacked.