BJP clamour for law on ‘Love Jihad’ in Maharashtra assembly
: After a series of rallies across the state by Sakal Hindu Samaj, a federation of Hindutva outfits, and the setting up of an inter-faith marriage-family coordination committee, the BJP is now demanding a law against so-called ‘Love Jihad’
Mumbai: After a series of rallies across the state by Sakal Hindu Samaj, a federation of Hindutva outfits, and the setting up of an inter-faith marriage-family coordination committee, the BJP is now demanding a law against so-called ‘Love Jihad.’ If passed, such a law can be used as a tool against inter-faith marriages in Maharashtra.
Din and chaos marked Friday’s Assembly session when NCP legislator Jitendra Awhad challenged BJP MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha’s claim that there were a hundred thousand cases of ‘Love Jihad’ in the state. Lodha who is also the women and child development minister had made this claim while speaking on the occasion of women’s day on March 8. Contesting this claim, Jitendra Awhad told the House: “There have been 3,693 cases of interfaith marriages in the state which the women and child development minister is exaggeratedly portraying as ‘Love Jihad’ cases.”
However, BJP MLAs rushed into the well of the House, not allowing him to speak further on the matter. BJP’s Ashish Shelar then asked for a law in Maharashtra against ‘Love Jihad.’
“Even if there is a single case where a Hindu girl or woman has been lured in the name of love and murdered, we will speak against it. We want a law against ‘Love Jihad’,” he said.
This demand comes at a time when the Shinde-Fadnavis government is already contemplating promulgating a law against ‘Love Jihad.’ Several states ruled by the Bhartiya Janata Party like Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Haryana have already passed a law on similar lines against forceful conversions.
‘Love jihad’ though is a term used by right-wing activists and organizations alleging a concerted effort by Muslim men to convert Hindu women to Islam through interfaith marriages. The courts in India and the central government do not officially recognise this term.
Mangal Prabhat Lodha who has been spearheading the campaign against so-called ‘Love Jihad’ had claimed on Wednesday that there were over a hundred thousand cases in Maharashtra and the people, aggrieved by this, were participating in large numbers in the rallies organised by Sakal Hindu Samaj.
“The rallies of thousands of people are not happening in all the districts just like that. People are angry. It is the state government’s responsibility to prevent a repeat of the Shraddha Walkar case,” Lodha had said while participating in a debate to mark Women’s Day in the Lower House. Lodha has also set up a state panel on interfaith marriages citing that the women in most cases needed to be ‘reunited’ with their families. The opposition is resisting the constitution of such a panel saying it lays the ground to enact a law on religious conversions in Maharashtra.