‘If specific term like love jihad used…’: Dushyant Chautala’s hint to BJP
At a time when several Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states are planning to bring laws against alleged forceful religious conversions, Dushyant Chautala, whose Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) shares power with the BJP in Haryana, on Thursday appeared to have reservations over the use of the term ‘love jihad’ to describe the alleged practice.
“If the law will be to check on forceful religious conversions, our party will definitely support it. If the law will be presented with a specific term like ‘love jihad,’ then we will discuss it,” Chautala, the deputy chief minister of the northern state, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Chautala’s stand on the issue is in complete contrast to that taken by the BJP, which is in power in Haryana with JJP’s support. Last November, BJP leader Anil Vij, who is the state home minister, announced that a committee had been set up to draft an ‘anti-conversion law.’ Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, also from the BJP, has also spoken in support of the laws.
Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, both with BJP governments, have already passed their respective ordinances against the alleged practice. While the former adopted the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020, the latter passed the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020. The party’s government in the southern state of Karnataka has also proposed to bring law in this regard.
‘Love jihad’ is a term used by right-wing activists to describe what they say is the practice of Muslim men posing as Hindus, pretending to be in love with Hindu women. After marriage, they allege, Hindu women are forced to convert to Islam. Demand to pass laws to curb this 'menace' picked up steam after the murder of a 21-year-old girl in Haryana's Ballabhgarh last October.
Chautala’s remark on the issue comes at a time when he is already under pressure from several leaders of his party to withdraw support to the BJP over the ongoing farmers’ agitation in Delhi. However, he is yet to do so, and has repeatedly expressed confidence that the central government and the protesting farmers would be able to arrive at a resolution.