Let Bihar enact law on ‘love jihad’, then Maharashtra will think about it: Shiv Sena
Days after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders sought the enactment of a legislation against “love jihad”, a term coined by Hindutva groups for Hindu girls being allegedly forced to convert to Islam in the guise of marriage, the Shiv Sena said that it will study the law that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s government brings into effect, if he does so.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that BJP leaders in Maharashtra are attempting to “distract” the Uddhav Thackeray-led government from the course of development by using such tactics.
Last week, BJP leader Ram Kadam targeted the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and asked why it was silent on the atrocities committed against women under the pretext of “love”.
The Shiv Sena said it will think about a legislation against “love jihad” if the Bihar government brings in such a legislation. BJP union minister Giriraj Singh has backed an enactment of the law in Bihar, but Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) is reportedly against it.
Raut, the Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson, said, “I spoke to the chief minister about the demand for a ‘love jihad’ law by BJP leaders. We will study the law against ‘love jihad’ in other states, especially in Bihar, and then think about it. Nitish Kumar has become the chief minister with the help of the BJP, but the BJP is running the government. We will study what law Nitish Kumar’s government brings in. The BJP should bring in an ideal law on ‘love jihad’ in Bihar and then ask questions [to others] about it.”
The Shiv Sena parliamentarian also slammed the BJP over the lack of a development plan for the country. He said that the politics of religion and communalism is being practised due to the upcoming assembly election in West Bengal. “The politics over ‘love jihad’ will end after the West Bengal elections,” Raut said.
He added, “The BJP doesn’t have any issue related to development. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is guiding Maharashtra towards development, and therefore, they are attempting to disturb and distract us from the course. However, despite all this, Maharashtra will become the top state in the country in the next three years.”
An editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana also hit out at the BJP leadership in Maharashtra and said that they shouldn’t play with the people’s lives during the Covid-19 pandemic for the sake of politics.
“On one hand, they criticise the government for not controlling Covid-19 numbers, and on the other, they create chaos and crowding, which leads to the spread of Covid-19. The second wave of Covid-19 is coming, but the BJP thinks this wave is of their political ideology. They want to use the wave as the ladder to uninstall the saffron flag on the Mumbai civic body. That is fine; you play your politics, but why are you pushing innocent people into an abyss,” the editorial read.
Radical Hindu groups have popularised the term “love jihad”, which they use to describe what they believe is an organised conspiracy of Muslim men to trick Hindu women into marriages. In February, junior home minister G Kishan Reddy told Parliament the term “love jihad” is not defined under the laws and no such case has been reported by any central agency. Despite the political mobilisation, experts say that the charges of love jihad are bogus and that adult men and women are free to convert under the constitutional right to freedom of religion.