Mumbai : Women and civil rights activists held a press conference in Mumbai to advocate for freedom of choice in love and also to shun the concept of a ‘love jihad’ taking place.
The press conference was attended by a number of speakers including activists Neilofar Bhagwat, Vahida Nainal, Independent researcher Chayanika Shah, educationist Kranti Jejurkar and lawyer Sonia Gill.
The speakers voiced serious concerns about the notion of any love jihad happening in India and said that this was a political tool to propagate divisive ideologies.
The activists strongly supported cross-cultural and cross religious marriages and contended that it is something to be promoted rather than shunned based on such concepts as love jihad.
“A myth is being propagated that all interfaith marriages where the male is a muslim are malicious and are solemnised with the single objective of religious conversion and increasing the population of muslims by producing innumerable children. However, this is merely a political tool used by outfits with divisive ideologies to polarise the two communities and will therefore spread falsehood and hatred”, said Kranti Jejurkar.
Adding more on the topic, Chayanika Shah contended that “most of the pretexts of communal violence are cooked up and gradually manufacture”.
The speakers also alluded to several landmark judgements relating to interfaith marriages and statistics and said that in Uttar Pradesh where communal tension has been rife for sometime and it has become a common practice to blame certain evils such as rape on members of another communal spectrum to justify the tension.
However, out of 334 rape cases reported in 9 districts in UP, only 25 cases had muslim men accused of raping Hindu girls. There are several other statistics which convey the reality.
During the press conference which was conducted in Mumbai and Delhi on the same day, the activists further beseeched the urban community to not fall prey to such propaganda and also spoke out in support of unconditional love sans bias, be it political or religious.