The contentious issue of 'love-jihad' is on the rise in Uttar Pradesh. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath instructed strict measures be taken to curb harassment against women and 'love-jihad' incidents reported from many districts, including Kanpur, Lakhimpur Kheri and Balrampur, in the state.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which has been advocating firm action against love-jihad for a long time, demanded that a law be enacted to curb the menace.
What is love jihad?
According to reports, love-jihad or Romeo-jihad is a conspiracy theory on alleged efforts by Muslim men targeting non-Muslim women for conversion to Islam by pretending to be in love.
The term was coined after initial cases of conversion emerged in Kerala and subsequently Karnataka.
According to an article in Swarajya Magazine, “Muslim men pretend to be Hindus, make fake IDs online and offline, wear Kalava, sport a Tilak while chasing a Hindu girl. After few weeks, they establish physical relations, film the act, then go on to marry the girls. Most of the marriages are done under Sharia law where women have to convert. The girls are usually in 15-20 years age group.”
It further stated, “With no economic security and often dumped by their natal families for marrying a Muslim, these girls get trapped in an abusive relationship and a deeply unequal marital contract where women have no rights. When they protest, they are either beaten, left by the men and in some cases even killed.
CM Yogi, who was an MP in 2014 alleged that ‘love jihad’ was an international conspiracy targeting India.
The cases spread out from pretext of marriage, misleading information to gangrape where women have come forward claiming they are victims of ‘love jihad’.
Meanwhile there are those, who have asserted that it is a right-wing concept to stop inter-faith marriages.
2020 comeback of love jihad
Seeing the rise in such incidents in 2020, Adityanath has instructed officials to chalk out an action plan to prevent such incidents.
In recent days, cases of love-jihad in Meerut, Kheri and Kanpur have been reported. According to Additional Chief Secretary Avnish Kumar Awasthi, the Chief Minister has asked for instant and strict action against women's harassment and love-jihad incidents.
Meerut, Kanpur and Lakhimpur Kheri have recently reported cases of girls being trapped under the pretext of falling in love.
Madhuram Mishra, Vishwa Hindu Parishad's Kanpur unit organisational head says, "The cases of love-jihad are quite old. A gang is active in carrying out such operations. In Kanpur, Farrukhabad, Jhansi, Etawah, Hamirpur, Lalitpur, Fatehpur and other districts, there have been cases of love-jihad. People are in touch with us. We are raising awareness about it."
Recently, a young girl in Kanpur had released a video on social media which went viral, saying she would undergo religious conversion on the pretext of consummating the marriage.
After hearing this, activists of Vishwa Hindu Parishad created a ruckus outside Kidwai Nagar police station, accusing a youth of forceful religious conversion.
They demanded that the accused be arrested and the girl handed over to them.
Bholendra, the area head of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, said the love-jihad syndicate is active in every district of Uttar Pradesh. Each syndicate comprises several agents. The incidents in Lakhimpur and Kanpur have come to the fore. The poor sections of society especially villagers were primarily targeted.
ADG law and order Prashant Kumar said, "The police are working with sensitivity in cases of violence against women. Special attention is being given to inter-faith harmony. Reports of such incidents are being looked into promptly. Each case is treated on its merit."
The issue of love-jihad was raised with gusto in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly bypolls. During the 2014 bypolls, Yogi Adityanath used to say at election rallies, "Now Jodha bai will not go with Akbar and Alexander will be forced to give his daughter to Chandragupta Maurya."
The arrests were made late Sunday and the two have been identified as Mohsin Khan and Aamir. The police said Mohsin Khan befriended a girl, posing as Sameer, and then married her.His friend Aamir became friendly with the younger sister of Mohsin's wife, but the girl realised their game plan and stopped meeting him. She was then threatened with dire consequences if she did not marry Aamir.
The girls' father approached Inspector General (IG) Kanpur, Mohit Agarwal, who set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT), led by Superintendent of Police south Deepak Bhuker, to probe the matter. A case was also registered at the Panki police station.
IG Mohit Agarwal said that the SIT would now probe similar cases.
"The SIT is drawing up a list of such cases, especially from the Juhi area. Through mobile surveillance, we will find out if there is a gang or an outfit that is working in such matters. We are going to be strict in such cases," he said.
With IANS inputs