Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday said the government would take measures to end religious conversions in the name of “love jihad”, The Indian Express reported. “Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory used by Hindutva groups who accuse Muslim men of converting Hindu women by marriage. Right-wing leaders allege it to be a part of a larger Muslim conspiracy of eventually turning Hindus into a minority in India.
“Young girls of the state are being lured in the name of love and money and are being converted to other religions, we have considered it seriously,” Yediyurappa said at a Bharatiya Janata party executive meeting. “After a thorough review, we will take a strong measure.”
The chief minister said he has discussed the matter of religious conversion with his officials. “What other states have done or not done is a different matter, but in Karnataka we will have to put an end to it,” he said.
On Tuesday, Karnataka Home Minister CT Ravi had said that the state government will bring a new law banning religious conversion in line with the Allahabad High Court’s order. “We will not remain silent when Jihadis strip the dignity of Our Sisters,” he tweeted. “Any one involved in the act of conversion shall face severe & swift punishment.”
The home minister was referring to the Allahabad High Court’s October 30 order, where it had observed that religious conversion just for the purpose of marriage was unacceptable. Without naming “love jihad”, the court had said that if the conversion was not “inspired by religion feeling” and was done “with the object of creating a ground for some claim of right...the conversion shall not be bonafide”.
On October 31, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had cited the High Court’s order and said that the government would make a new law to stop “love jihad”. “I warn those who conceal their identity and play with our sisters’ respect,” he said at a rally. “If you don’t mend your ways, your ‘Ram naam satya’ journey will begin.” The term is a chant associated with Hindu funerals.
Other BJP-ruled states followed suit. On November 1, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said he was considering introducing “legal provisions” to curb “love jihad” cases in his state. “Since the Ballabhgarh case is being linked with “love jihad”, the Centre as well as state government is looking into it, and considering legal provisions so the guilty cannot escape and no innocent person is punished,” Khattar said.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday said that if required, his government will pass a law to curb interfaith marriages.
All the four chief ministers have spoken about implementing laws against “love jihad” despite the fact that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had on February 4 told the Lok Sabha that there was no such thing defined under the current laws in the country.