Bangalore police have questioned two men in connection with a pamphlet which urges Muslim men to marry women of other religions for "generous rewards" and has been circulating in the city through WhatsApp and emails.
The police have not registered a case yet but believe the pamphlet is fake and intended to create communal discord by urging Muslims to wage love jihad, a term coined by Hindu right wing groups for an alleged conspiracy by Muslims to abduct, seduce and elope with Hindu girls for the sole purpose of conversion.
The affidavit lists a rate card: the highest reward of Rs 5 lakh is for marrying a Brahmin girl and the lowest, of Rs 1.5 lakh, is for a Buddhist girl. "We the students of Muslim Youth Forum give a call to you to indulge yourself in love jihad mission for universe and global Islam,” says the pamphlet and provides a list of postal addresses, email IDs and phone numbers for further information.
While most of the phone numbers start with the country code, +92 (Pakistan), the postal addresses belong to the Muslim political organization Popular Front of India. The Bangalore, Kozhikode and Chennai offices of the organization have been listed on the pamphlet.
“We would have to be either extremely foolish or some sort of extremist underground organization to circulate a pamphlet like this and provide our own office address. This is the handiwork of the same Hindutva organisations that are spreading the fiction of Love Jihad,” said Abdul Wahid Sait, the PFI’s Karnataka President.
Sait said that the pamphlet had come to the PFI’s notice a few weeks ago. “We promptly reported it to the police but there has been no action,” said Naseeruddin a PFI activist. Additional Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar confirmed that two men had been questioned but said, “A case has not been registered as we have not yet received a formal complaint. We don’t want to take it up suo motu.”
“The same pamphlet had appeared on the official website of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti in 2011. It was taken off after we lodged a police complaint in Kozhikode,” said A Mohammed Yusuff, a member of the PFI’s national executive.
Abdul Shakoor, the Kozhikode-based PFI activist, who lodged the police complaint, said, “The (Kerala) police have said that they could not trace the origin of pamphlet. But we have clear evidence to link some Hindu extremist organisations and activists. We will be filing a private complaint before the court with all the evidence in November.”
While the pamphlet has been received as evidence of Love Jihad by those inclined to such a view, it has also amused those who have been following the politics of the PFI over the years.
“Just like the Sangh Parivar, the PFI is also vehemently opposed to inter-religious marriages. In Coastal Karnataka, PFI followers have often attacked Hindu-Muslim couples. So we find hilarious that they are being accused of promoting such alliances. If anything, they should be prosecuted for their moral policing,” said Muneer Katipalla, the State President of the leftwing Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).