After denial, the admission: Love Jihad, a reality in Kerala

Police report puts spotlight on ‘Dawa Squad’ that plays catalyst for conversion 

Published: 26th August 2017 02:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th August 2017 08:49 AM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only.

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: For long, this was something that would only be whispered in the corridors of power. More often than not, the principal players who scrutinised the issue continued to remain in denial mode. Now, after many years of vacillation, the Kerala Police have admitted the state has been witnessing ‘Love Jihad’ for some time. The confidential report has brought focus on a self-styled fundamental group called ‘Dawa Squad’ is actively converting youngsters in Kerala into Islam. It further says the squad targets youth from the Ezhava community more than any others.

State police chief Loknath Behera admitted Dawa Squad and Love Jihad were not the figment of anybody’s imagination and said the police were gearing up to deal with the situation. “Radicalisation through conversion using various means is taking place in the state. We have formed specialised teams to track the related developments in an integrated manner,” Behera told this reporter.

According to the report compiled by the state police, details of which were accessed by Express, 23 young professionals were converted to Islam in Thrissur district while the total number of converts in Palakkad was 139 in the last two years. The report, which presents a case study of a dozen conversion incidents in north Kerala, says the maximum conversions were taking place in Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Thrissur.

The report also warns the situation was fuelling communal tension between Hindus and Muslims as the ‘Dawa Squad’ was hatching plots to antagonise Hindu groups. ‘Dawa’ refers to proselytising; the squads target girls and youngsters, mainly those with CPM affiliation and professional qualification, finds the probe.

A top-level meeting of the police officers and officers of Home Department is soon expected to discuss the findings of report and chalk out an action plan.“The ‘Dawa Squad’ members are hardliners, specially trained to hide their strong religious practices in public even in their dressings. Many students and young professionals are members of this squad. They identify vulnerable targets from work place, social media and educational institutions before befriending them,” the report said. Once the squad members establish strong connect with their target, they gradually curtail the target’s links with family members and other friends.

“There are organised units which provide logistical and other necessary support to help the ‘Dawa Squad’ successfully complete an operation in each case,” the report said. Another section of the report points to forceful religious conversions centres operating in violation of a government order issued in 2004 and say revenue officers were hand in glove with those running the centres, to offer conversion certificates, without proper verification.

‘Only a detailed probe will bring out the facts’

Kozhikode: While the 2004 GO specified there were only two authorised organisations – Maunathul Islam Association in Ponnani and Therbiyathul Islam Sabha in Kozhikode - to issue certificate of conversion to Islam, the report says a dozen organisations were currently operating in Kerala to convert people to Islam offering money and other support. “Many girls who are reported missing from the state might have been lured by this squad. Only a detailed probe will bring out the facts,” said a senior police officer involved in monitoring this matter.

Report reinforces Senkumar’s statement

Curiously, the latest report reinforces the essence of the much criticised statement by former state police chief T P Senkumar, who did not pull any punches while proclaiming `Love Jihad’ being a reality in Kerala.  Even as Senkumar stood by his statement that was made soon after his retirement, it stoked much controversy. Later, it was given a political twist by some prominent LDF leaders who claimed Senkumar had revealed his true colours, and went on to deride him for his pro-Hindutva stance.

The report has brought focus on a fundamental group called ‘Dawa Squad’.

It targets youth from the Ezhava community more than any others.

Most conversions in Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad & Thrissur.

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