A Special Investigation Team looking into alleged love jihad cases in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur has found that 11 out of the 14 incidents were criminal, reported The Hindu, citing a senior police officer. The police added that they also found no proof that those involved in the cases were receiving foreign funding or that it was an organised conspiracy.
The team was set up after 14 cases were reported where the girls’ parents had claimed that Muslim boys had duped their daughters and “trapped them in love”. Inspector General of Kanpur Mohit Agarwal said the SIT investigation did not find any links to foreign funding, adding that the accused did change their names and some established relationship with minors.
After some sort of criminality was revealed in 11 cases, those involved were sent to prison. In the remaining three cases, the police found that the women were adults and were in a relationship with Muslim men of their free will. “No action would be taken in such cases,” the police officer told The Hindu.
The SIT, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police Vikas Pandey, submitted its report to Agarwal on Monday after investigating the 14 cases, registered all over Kanpur in the last two years, reported The Indian Express. Chargesheets have been filed in eight of these cases, and the rest will be done soon.
Pandey said that in the 11 cases, due process was not followed “while changing the names of the girls before their marriage”, adding that their marriages were not registered under the Special Marriages Act.
In October, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath proposed a legislation threatening those engaging in “love jihad” with death. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader warned men who “hide their identities” and “play with the honour of sisters” to get ready for their own funerals, even though there is no law that sentences an individual to death for marrying a woman after concealing their identity.
Five BJP-ruled states – Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam – have promised to introduced strict legal provisions to prevent “love jihad”, a conspiracy theory used by Hindutva supporters, who accuse Muslim men of duping Hindu women into marriages, with the aim of converting them to Islam. Right-wing leaders allege it to be a part of a larger Muslim conspiracy of eventually turning Hindus into a minority in India.
Adityanath had referred to a November 1 Allahabad High Court judgement from November 1 as the basis for the law. However, the High Court on Monday struck down its previous judgement, which held that religious conversion “just for the purpose of marriage” was unacceptable.
On November 18, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said a committee would be set up to draft a strict law against “love jihad”.
Although the Union home ministry in February told Parliament that “love jihad” was not defined under the current laws of the country. The matter has often made headlines, with BJP leaders leading the cause for a law against forced conversions.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday criticised BJP leaders for espousing the need for a law against “love jihad”, and asked whether inter-faith marriages of family members of the party’s politicians would also be considered forced conversions.
On November 20, senior Congress leader and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also criticised the BJP and said that “love jihad” was nothing but a phrase manufactured by the party to divide the nation and disturb India’s communal harmony.