Many sections in the Indian Penal Code protect women, yet they are victims of atrocities and crime, Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2021, (‘love jihad’) is such a provision, yet women are victims of crime.
Women activists and human rights activists are of the view that girls need family support when she is trapped and deserted by her husband or lover, and this is where the society falls morally weak.
The law is not based on religion, but to control forceful conversion, it is enacted because of the conspiracy by one community to trap girls of Hindu community, even money is provided to trap Hindu girls; this is the experience and observation of social activist Sonal Joshi.
She has also noted that girls and women trapped by such youth are often abandoned by them, when such women or girls try to return to their parents, they are not accepted back. In 1998, 45 such women and girls were given shelter by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, if parents support women or girls on their return.
Joshi also advocates for sex education of girls as get attracted to youth. If proper sex education is given, lot of issues can be addressed instead of such laws.
There is no need of Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act (Amendment), 2021, because it is against the women’s rights to choose her partner, every adult women knows what is right and wrong for her, even if she makes a mistake, she has a right to select a partner of her choice. “There are many laws to protect women, and when these are exercised properly, there will be never be any need of a new law,” feels Meenakshi Joshi, a social activist.
“Forceful conversion needs to be reigned in but does the new act really protect women from such trap?” is the question feels Ruzan Khambhata, a women rights activist.
All three were of the opinion that women or girls in Gujarat were never frightened because of love jihad, they freely roam in the state any time, attend school and colleges, social events and even night parties, never are worried of venturing out of getting trapped by anyone.
Activists are of opinion that if the family and society support girls and women at right time it will play a bigger role in serving the society than controlling women and stopping them to select a partner of their choice.