A group of right-wing members on Thursday night reached Bhopals T. T. Nagar police station and protested against an alleged so-called ‘love jihad as a Muslim youth and a Hindu girl claimed they have been in a relationship for the last one year.
The young woman’s parents opposed this relationship and the right-wing group, Sanskriti Bachao Manch was involved, following which the girl was handed over to her parents in the presence of the police.
The issue, however, was resolved amicably between the two families in the presence of the police, a source privy to the incident told IANS on condition of anonymity. But such incidents, which have been given the name of ‘love jihad’, often surface in Madhya Pradesh and the politicians do not miss an opportunity to get involved.
Another case of alleged ‘love jihad’ surfaced last month in Bhopal when a Muslim youth was booked on rape charges after allegedly impersonating as Amar Kushwaha to develop a relationship with a Hindu girl.
There are several instances of such incidents in Madhya Pradesh, and the most controversial surfaced in January this
year when a Muslim man and a married Hindu woman who were travelling together were forcibly taken off an Ajmer-bound train by members of the Bajrang Dal and handed over to the railway police station in Ujjain.
The Bajrang Dal members, who accused the man of ‘love jihad’, assaulted him as they forcibly took him off the train. The controversy ended after the woman’s family members claimed that the Muslim man was known to them and they were aware that the two were travelling together.
The issue escalated in political circles in Madhya Pradesh in September this year after state tourism and culture minister Usha Thakur termed garba events as a “medium for love jihad”. She demanded that the participants should carry identity proof to enter garba venues.
Ex-pro tem speaker of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly and BJP MLA from Bhopal, Rameshwar Sharma claimed that ‘love jihad’ is being operated in a well organised way and it is being protected by some politicians, bureaucrats and police personnel.
“The perpetrators of love jihad are not being punished due to which they have no fear. Hindus have started accepting that hidden truth (love jihad), but still many believe that it is just a political agenda. It’s not a political agenda for the BJP.
“I speak against love jihad not because I belong to the BJP, I do it it because being a Hindu, it is my duty. It is up to the people to believe or not,” Sharma told IANS.
Sharma claimed that though the Madhya Pradesh government has introduced the Freedom of Religion Act, 2021, but proper implementation of the law by bureaucrats and the police is not being done.
The BJP MLA added: “My view is that when the Act was passed by the state assembly and it was implemented by the government, then it should be done on the ground also. But the officials would often try to avoid implementing the rules for fear of controversy in their career. I believe that a uniform law should be passed by Parliament.”
The Congress, however, differs with the BJP’s claims on ‘love jihad’, saying the right-wing organisations themselves promote such issues for their political benefit.
Abbas Hafeez, a Congress spokesperson, said: “See, religion is the most sensitive issue for any community. We can’t deny that religious conversion is a serious issue and it is happening in Madhya Pradesh too, but it should be handled under the prescribed law, and not on the instructions of any particular political outfit or person.”
“In the last one year, so many Muslim youths have been charged under the new anti-conversion law in Madhya Pradesh, but the BJP should explain why the government failed to justify it before the court.”