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Home / India News / Raising legal age for marriage of girls to 18 responsible for love jihad, says BJP MLA

Raising legal age for marriage of girls to 18 responsible for love jihad, says BJP MLA

Madhya Pradesh BJP lawmaker Gopal Parmar says family elders should fix the marriage before girls turn 18 so that no one is able to trap them.

india Updated: May 06, 2018 16:19 IST
Shruti Tomar
Shruti Tomar
Bhopal, Hindustan Times
Schoolchildren take part in an awareness campaign to stop child marriage.
Schoolchildren take part in an awareness campaign to stop child marriage. (PTI file photo)
         

Girls eloping and the issue of love jihad emerged in society after the government introduced the “disease” of 18 years being the minimum legal age for marriage of women, according to the BJP MLA from Agar Malwa, Gopal Parmar.

“Earlier, our elders fixed our marriages in childhood and the marriages lasted longer. But after the government made 18 the legal marriageable age, our girls started eloping and things like love jihad started,” Parmar, 55, said at a function in his constituency on Saturday.

“Generally, our women are trapped easily with sweet talk and gestures. It is the duty of our mothers to make their daughters, who are closer to them, understand this. I urge mothers to alert their daughters about love jihad,” he added in Hindi.

The so-called love jihad is a controversial term coined by fringe groups to describe what they claim is a conspiracy by Muslims to lure Hindus into marriage.

Later, when asked about his speech at the function and whether he favoured child marriage, Parmar replied, “The government’s idea behind introducing legal age (for marriage of women) was different, but now some Muslims change their names and cheat Hindu women.”

Parmar, who said he got married when he was 12 years old, added, “I am not saying solemnise weddings before girls turn 18. I am saying that, at least, family elders fix the marriage so that no one is able to trap girls. Their minds will not be affected as they would always be conscious of the fact that their marriage is fixed.”

The Congress slammed Parmar’s remarks, saying it reflected his mindset. State Congress media in-charge Manak Agrawal said on Sunday the MLA and his party must apologise “for insulting girls not only in Madhya Pradesh, but the entire country”.

State BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said, “The BJP doesn’t agree with the MLA’s views on early marriage. As far as love jihad is concerned, it’s a different issue and the term has not been coined by the BJP. Our leaders have already gone on record that public representatives should exercise restraint in expressing their views.”