BENGALURU: Taking a cue from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s poll campaign pitch against ‘Love Jihad’, BJP National General Secretary and Karnataka Tourism Minister CT Ravi said the State would consider similar laws. Now, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi has said he would welcome the law to ban ‘Love Jihad’.
The term is often used by right-wing organisations to describe an interreligious marriage between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy, with malintent of coerced religious conversion. “If the Karnataka Government were to introduce a law against love jihad, will welcome it,” Pralhad Joshi tweeted on Thursday.
Even as BJP-ruled states and its chief ministers, from Yogi Adityanath to BS Yediyurappa, speak of a law to ban ‘Love Jihad’, the Ministry of Home Affairs has declared that the term doesn’t even exist. In February this year, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy had said, on the floor of Parliament, “The term ‘Love Jihad’ is not defined under the extant laws.
No case of ‘Love Jihad’ has been reported by any of the central agencies.” This was the first time the Union government had officially dismissed the existence of such a phenomenon. The BJP State executive meeting on Thursday decided to recommend to the government to ban ‘Love Jihad’. “We will not wait for other states.
We will go ahead and bring in a stringent law to ban religious conversions for marriage. Trapping women into conversions through enticements will not be tolerated,” said Yediyurappa. Political analysts point out that the law is quite clear on coerced religious conversions. “The Right to Freedom of Religion and the Supreme Court’s judgment is very clear that any conversion done out of fraud, allurement or personal gain is not valid. You don’t need a new law to deal with that. If there is a view that forced conversion is happening, there are existing laws,” said Dr Sandeep Shastri, political scientist.
He added that before attempting to visualise a law, the government has many questions to answer. “How are you going to define ‘Love Jihad’ legally? Is it only about inter-religious marriage? Does it apply only to the marriage of a Hindu and Muslim, or any two religions? Will it apply to the marriage of a Hindu girl and Muslim boy or will it apply the other way around too? A law against religious conversions should apply to all religious and stand the scrutiny of court to see whether it is violative of the Right to Religion,” he said.