Over the last three years, there have been reports, primarily from Kerala as well as from some other states, notably Telangana and Andhra, about what was appropriately titled by newspapers as ‘Love Jihad’. Pseudo-secularists dismissed these reports as a part of the Hindutva propaganda.
Now the truth has rushed like the monsoon rains in Kerala in the wake of many middle class mothers knocking at the Marxist Chief Minister’s door asking for help to track down several young women who have disappeared after marrying young Muslims and then being converted to Islam. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has told the crying mothers he would order an enquiry.
Take, for instance, the story of Bindu, the mother of a girl in north Kerala. The daughter was lured by a young man, an MBA, who himself was a convert to Islam from Christianity. The daughter was in regular contact with the mother throughout her study time and then there was silence.
The worried mother approached the police after finding no response from her daughter. The police officer advised her to approach the High Court with a habeas corpus plea. The court got the police to produce the girl in the High Court and the mother was shocked to find that her daughter was in full veil.
She had got married and converted to Islam. After a few months, Bindu was told that her daughter was pregnant but the communication was irregular. Suddenly, the daughter phoned her mother to tell her that she was in Sri Lanka for a few days and would return. The next thing was a call from Afghanistan and then, long silence. It was then that Bindu approached the Chief Minister.
The suspicion that this girl has gone over with her husband to Syria to join the Islamic State is strong. Now have come several other similar stories from across Kerala, mostly from the Malappuram Muslim majority district and nearby Kozhikode port city, a Muslim stronghold. The police say 17 to 20 people from Kerala have gone over to Syria leaving no traces whatever.
A local TV channel showed considerable enterprise in tracking at least five families, with a similar story like that of Bindu. It found the worried parents were clueless on their college-going daughters. It found a school teacher Rashid was the main recruiter for the Islamic State.
He was plotting all along for the last four years or so to brainwash his neighbours and others into joining Islamist militancy.
In all the Kerala cases, of flight to join the barbaric killings, sex slavery, wholesale massacre that is going on in Syria-Iraq and the IS-planned isolated attacks in Europe, US and elsewhere, the plot was found to be virtually same or similar — lure innocent girls into marrying trained Islamist youngmen and then brainwash them to convert to Islam.
The concern in the state over the rapid spread of radical Islam has been so intense that last Monday, the Kerala Assembly spent an entire day on this problem and Malayali youngsters being lured into and recruited systematically for terror organisations.
The top leaders of the two fronts accused each other for this alarming growth of radicalisation. The Congress-led UDF, now in opposition, quoted instances after instances of the Marxist leader and now Chief Minister Mr Vijayan partnering with radical Islamist organisations like the PDP and SDIP in the previous elections.
The Chief Minister’s counter that the days of such electoral collaboration no longer existed, itself exposed the fact that the tie-up existed till the other day. The Muslim League has done nothing to dismantle such dangerous movements within the community it claims to speak for, notwithstanding the public denunciation of terror and the radicals claiming to speak for Islam. In fact, there are reports of IS recruits in Kerala and ultra fundamentalists imposing loyalty oaths on young Muslims — loyalty to IS chief al-Baghdadi, the self-styled Caliph of Islam.
The two political fronts of Kerala joining together in the Kerala Assembly to unanimously condemn terror can only be considered as a paper commitment when the Marxist Government, just as its predecessor, the Congress-led front, takes no concrete steps to thwart the radicalisation of Muslims and open preaching of and recruiting for the IS.
Among the political and cultural forces in Kerala with its great names in every aspect of national culture, only the RSS and BJP have come forward to oppose this radical march and pay the price for it in terms of sacrifice of its cadres at the hands of radicals, both political and religious.
The social media, all operated from outside the country, spreads communal poison using morphed photos, old photos of events long past and posted to look like current events, to engender alienation within the community against the secular ideal.
All this continues to be fearlessly followed because the perpetrators realise they can count on the Muslim appeasement of the two political fronts to block any step to end these anti-national moves.
So, many mothers like Bindu would wait for more years to hear from their daughters lured to marry for the killing fields of the Levant like so many baits. More likely, they will never hear from them at all.
Balbir Punj is a former BJP MP and a Delhi-based commentator on social and political issues