Though the concept has no constitutional or legal basis, the term itself is quite unsuitable to define this act, as there is no “love” in these crimes and there is no ambiguity that it is a form of jihad.
The Uttar Pradesh government recently cleared a draft ordinance to check “unlawful religious conversions” and “inter-faith marriages with the sole intention of changing a girl’s religion”, with a provision for jail term of up to 10 years
According to the Uttar Pradesh Vidhi Virudh Dharma Samparivartan Pratishedh Adyadesh 2020, a marriage will be declared shunya ornull and void if the “sole intention” was to “change a girl’s religion”.
Many legal scholars have criticised the move by stating that contemplating laws to regulate matrimonial relationships between two consenting adults will not be just against constitutional guarantees but would offend the very notion of individuality and basic freedoms.
However, the hideous crime has spread its tentacles in the country, majorly in Uttar Pradesh where, according to OpIndia, state police has gone on record and confirmed they have found criminality in 11 out of 14 cases registered under the notion of “love jihad” following gang rape, forceful conversions of minors, kidnapping and forgery.
There have been allegations that there are foreign-funded Islamist organisations that support and promise money and other rewards to youth who lure non-Muslim women into marriage and/or conversion.
This burning national issue has even made headlines in several international media outlets across the globe.
Al Jazeera described love jihad as “an unproven conspiracy theory used by BJP leaders and Hindu far-right groups to accuse Muslim men of converting Hindu women by marriage”.
Commenting on the controversial now-deleted Tanishq Ad, where a Muslim mother-in-law was shown organising a baby shower for her Hindu daughter-in-law, it stated the development “shed light on the country’s growing religious polarisation under Modi, whose party and supporters envision the country as a Hindu nation and are accused by critics of normalising anti-Muslim sentiment”.
On a similar note, tagging Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath as “a radical Hindu monk”, The Washington Post stated love jihad smear is baseless and added the new laws will deepen the concerns that under Modi, India’s Muslim minority is increasingly subject to suspicion, discrimination and even violence.
Western media have always portrayed India in a negative and derogatory way. There is a clear right-wing bias here.
This bias exists between the liberals and woke people of the world who are against right-wing governments across the world. And that has been the case with India since 2014 when Narendra Modi came to power with a thumping majority.
As far as love jihad is concerned, it is certainly wrong to turn a blind eye towards the on-going violence and evidently forceful conversions against one particular community in the name of secularism and intolerance.