KOCHI: A scheme by the state government to encourage inter-faith wedlocks is on the verge of collapse. The reason: !Ironically, this comes at a time when inter-caste marriages in the state have spiralled into a hot debate with the Kerala High Court openly backing inter-caste marriages saying all these marriages could not be termed ‘Love Jihad’ or ‘Ghar Wapsi’. The government is citing inadequate number of applicants from the Social Justice Department for its plan to wind up the scheme which grants Rs 30,000 for the inter-faith couple.
The Social Justice Directorate has approached the state government asking whether to continue with the scheme, given the fact there was poor response. However, an official document cites a total of 2,075 applications seeking financial assistance has been pending before the Social Justice Department district offices over the last 3-5 years.
Surendra Kumar, Additional Director, Social Justice Department, said the department will conduct a preliminary inquiry on the applications to be disposed of. Thiruvananthapuram district tops the chart with 435 pending applications while Alappuzha has 350, Kollam 275, Thrissur 262 and Ernakulam 206.
According to the officers, the department has disbursed assistance to 811 applicants in the 2016-17 fiscal and a sum of about Rs 2.37 crore has been allocated for this.
“While examining the status of the disbursement of the assistance it is noticed many applications are pending and we have sought details in this regard from the district offices. The exact number will be available only after getting the details,” said a top officer with the SJD.
Kerala Misra Vivaha Vedi state president Rajagopal Vakathanam alleged the government has no policy for encouraging inter-faith marriages despite verbal claims. “The Left Government is not considering it as a social issue.
They are reluctant to take a firm stand for encouraging inter-caste marriages as they are not ready to have an issue with religious organisations,” he said.Earlier, during the regime of V S Achuthanandan, a committee headed by K K Shylaja had conducted a study on the welfare of women and children. “One of the main recommendations of the committee was to encourage inter-faith marriages,” he said.