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Love Jihad – Hate Politics In The Name Of Religion

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It was December 6, 2017, the same day when the Babri Masjid demolition took place way back in 1992, a video went viral with the footage showing an attacker hacking a man and setting him ablaze. The incident took place on the outskirts of Rajsamand in Rajasthan. The assailant was unapologetic and was heard threatening the ‘Jihadis’ (Muslims) to leave the country else meet a similar fate.

The assailant, Shambhu Lal Regar, an unemployed man from Rajasthan is no less than a beast while the victim who was later identified as Mohammed Afrazul Islam.  Afrazul Islam was a labourer from Malda, West Bengal who was settled in Rajasthan. Though the motive of the brutal murder is still unclear as Afrazul‘s wife said in her statement that her husband had no affair with a Hindu woman, but according to the murderer, it was a case of  ‘Love Jihad’.

The term has its origin attributed to the right-wing extremists who claim that Muslim men/boys influence Hindu women to convert them to Islam by professing false love. When the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India declared India a secular nation, where there cannot be any division in the name of religion, then this question arises –  Who is responsible for repeated attacks in the name of Love Jihad?

Why suddenly is the Muslim community threatened? Why are they asked to leave this country which is also their home? Why these attacks made in open? Young Junaid was lynched in public when he was returning back after his shopping for Eid.

Apparently, this hate game has taken an upper hand under the current political regime, and it looks like those in power are desperate to make this country a Hindu Rashtra.

On April 17, 2017 Rediff news released a statement:  “In 2019, RSS will declare India a Hindu Rashtra. Justice (retd) Rajinder Sachar headed the Sachar Committee which studied the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims in India. A champion of civil liberties for decades, the 93-year-old former chief justice of the Delhi high court spoke to M I Khan in Patna about India today. In recent months, hate crimes against Muslims seem to have increased. Is it a reflection of rising intolerance or something else? Oh yes, hate crimes against Muslims are rising, but it is not mere intolerance. It is far worse than intolerance. As a matter of fact, this danger has become further catastrophic after the BJP’s (Bharatiya Janata Party) victory in Uttar Pradesh. The most dangerous signal came after Yogi Adityanath was made UP chief minister. It is part of a deliberate plan by the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).

Let us not forget that (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is only the face. Earlier, he was chief minister in Gujarat. Thanks to corporate backing, he was propagated as a development man.”

In his statement on Muslim appeasement the 93-year-old former chief justice of the Delhi high court spoke to M I Khan in Patna about India today, reports Rediff news: “The socio-economic status of Muslims is very low and poor. Muslims are still deprived and marginalised. You can see it for yourself if you visit any town across the country. If you are improving the lives of Dalits, who are Hindus, then can you call it appeasement? Like any other community, Muslims are citizens of this country. Their condition is improving, but there is an urgent need for an equality commission. Muslims have been part of this country for centuries, large numbers of Muslims have converted (in the past) for different reasons. Swami Vivekananda said they (the Muslims) converted because they were in the worst conditions. Hindus and Muslims coming together, Vivekananda said, is the only remedy for India.”

On Saturday, December 9, 2017, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi the Union ministry for Minority Affairs stated it is not a case of “Love Jihad” but it is criminal affair provoking a riot and also a threat to the communal harmony. He did not point to anyone but he said it is hate politics of some indisposed people trying to rob the peace and unity among the people. He also said those people, in the long run, will not succeed in their outrageous criminal blueprint.

The essay started with the Rajasthan violence. So let me get back to the subject. Time and again history has been an evidence of the inter-religion marriages, no one can stop anyone from loving a person from a different religion. This “Love Jihad’ is nothing but hate politics. It’s sad we do not have a strong opposition and this current government is only approving this heinous murders/treatment of Muslims. The killing was only a farce, there lays a hidden agenda behind these rise in crimes and killing of innocent Muslims.

Let us all appreciate that the assailant has been arrested and has been booked under several penal codes as per the law books and also the Rajasthan government has announced ₹5 lakh as compensation to the victim’s family but the question still remains – Is this how we are going to treat Muslims? Are we taking any measure to stop this violence? If not then let us be happy and watch the downfall of our country for which the freedom fighters lost their lives under the hands of the British rulers. The media is flooded with news on celebrities, sports, rapes, science and technology which is also justified but what is the media’s take on his growth of violence? Is there any nudge to the Government by media, the most powerful weapon to reach out to the lawmakers?

Those who kill in name of religion or God know nothing about either. Last but not the least, sometimes the only standing ovation the government deserves is that of a finger. The Rajasthan incident is a condemnable cowardice act, let’s unite to stop this killing.  If by killing innocents we are going to achieve success, I refuse to call myself an Indian.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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