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All You Need To Know About ‘Love Jihad’ Debate

‘Love Jihad’ essentially means when one causes the other to convert to Islam through a false hope of love and marriage. This practice is commonly seen as Muslim men pretending to be in love with non-Muslim women with an intention of converting them.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:August 16, 2017, 6:35 PM IST
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All You Need To Know About ‘Love Jihad’ Debate
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New Delhi: With the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordering a probe in the Hadiya Case by National Investigative Agency, the spotlight is back on the cases of ‘Love Jihad’ in India. News18 dissects the issue:

WHAT IS ‘LOVE JIHAD’?

‘Jihad’ essentially means struggle or battle in Islam for a religious cause. So ‘Love Jihad’ essentially means when one causes the other to convert to Islam through a false hope of love and marriage. This practice is commonly seen as Muslim men pretending to be in love with non-Muslim women with an intention of converting them. While so far there is no proof of any such organized practice, many social and political organizations believe so.

WHERE DOES ‘LOVE JIHAD’ ORIGINATE FROM?

In 2009, there were claims of forceful religious conversions in Kerala and Mangalore. In 2009, Justice KT Sankaran (Retd.), observed there were indications of forceful religious conversions in Kerala and that the government should mull over a law to prohibit such instances. “Under the pretext of love, there cannot be any compulsive, deceptive conversion,” the court said.

WHAT ARE MOST FAMOUS CASES?

One of the first cases where the term ‘Love Jihad’ was used took place in 2009 when a girl was suspected to have converted to Islam under pressure from a Muslim boy who was willing to marry her. According to reports by special branch of police, fundamental outfits like National Democratic Front (NDF) and Campus Front had roots in college campuses in various cities and the plan was to ‘trap’ upper caste Hindu and Christian girls from well-to-do families.

In 2014, another such case from Meerut caught national attention. Kaleem and Shalu Tyagi’s love affair was projected as a case of ‘Love Jihad’ by Hindutva outfits. Both the parties involved in the case had always stated that ‘Love Jihad’ as a concept did not exist and was only used by political parties to polarize the atmosphere. But right-wing groups cited the case as a textbook example of ‘Love Jihad’. However, the two adults went ahead with the Nikah as planned.

2014 witnessed another famous case where a national-level shooter Tara Shahdeo walked out of her matrimonial home and said she was pressurized and tortured by her in-laws to accept Islam. She alleged that the person whom she thought to be a Hindu was actually a Muslim and she was now trapped. The CBI filed a chargesheet in the case this year against Ranjeet alias Raqibul, his mother Kaushal Rani, and Mushtaq Ahmed, the then Registrar (vigilance) of the Jharkhand High Court.

This year, the Hadiya case has been the most famous alleged ‘Love Jihad’ case. The Kerala High Court declared a marriage conducted by a qazi between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman null and void after the woman’s father alleged that his daughter has been recruited by Islamic State (IS) in Syria. After this, the aggrieved husband had moved the SC, seeking restoration of his marriage. On Wednesday, SC ordered a NIA probe into the matter when NIA stated that ‘Love Jihad existed’.

WHAT ARE THE LAWS COVERING SUCH CASES?

If the case involves a minor woman, and she being enticed to enter a sexual relationship, then there is a case of the man being a pedophile. The Acts covering this offence would be Protection of Child from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and Child Marriage and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

If the court finds that there has been abduction followed by a forced marriage, then the court can punish the accused under Section 366 of the IPC which punishes abduction leading to forced marriage or sexual relationship against the woman’s will. The offence is punishable with up to 10 years.

But the real problem lies in the nature of marriage. Muslims are married as per Shariah, while Hindus marry as per the Hindu Marriage Act. However, since Muslim marriage is a contract, there is a question of consent. Now the problem arises to determine whether the consent is informed or not. If the case is of informed consent, then the entire case fails although other legal provisions might help to bolster the case of the petitioners.

| Edited by: Mirza Arif Beg
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