The “Uttar Pradesh Vidhi Virudh Dharma Samparivartan Pratishedh Adhyadhesh” (prohibition of unlawful religious conversion), infamously known as the “Love Jihad” law, states, among other things, that a marriage will be declared null and void if the “sole intention” of the same is to “change a girl’s religion”.
Love Jihad is an unofficial term used by radical Hindu groups for referring to an alleged campaign by Muslim men to convert Hindu girls under the pretext of love. The law cleared by the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet defines punishment and fine under three different heads. Three other BJP-ruled states — Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka — are also mulling laws designed to prevent “forcible conversions” through marriage.
After enacting this law, Uttar Pradesh became the epicentre of hatred and was criticised by people across the nation. Was it necessary to bring it as a law? Yes, keeping in mind ridiculous incidents happening against Hindu women by Muslim men.
For example, the recent case of Nikita in Faridabad where a Muslim man was following her since her schooling days convincing her to marry him. He ended up shooting her in broad daylight, again becoming a question for women’s security in the entire country. We need strong laws against such cases not only for Muslim men but for people in general.
Being a secular country, everyone should get justice and are equal before the law regardless of their religion and faith. To eliminate injustice and provide security to women, the law was much needed.
It became controversial because of the way it was brought into enforcement, with the absence of proper debate in the parliament and most importantly because innocent people are getting booked on the grounds of this law, which is purely against someone’s choice.
After enacting the law, there is not a single day where we don’t get to read of a case. Most of them are booked just because of their religion. Is it fair against them? And somewhere, this is brewing hatred amongst the people.
Besides the law, how society still reacts to people marrying on their will is a major concern, whether it is right or wrong. Some people marry a girl in the neighbourhood who might be considered their “sister”. Is it not against our morality? Is it what we are supposed to follow or support? We want to enjoy the freedom of choice; don’t we forget our values?
I am bringing this to light because there are many cases of such incidents from many villages, mainly in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, etc. Parents of these girls face severe problems in society and it gives birth to owner killing and gives the wrong message to the younger generation. They are trying to make it more fashionable and trendy.
And there is another situation. When an upper-caste man marries a Dalit girl or a Dalit boy marries an upper-caste girl, society doesn’t react equally. Weaker sections of people have always faced such inequality. And it is no different when a Muslim man marries a Hindu girl or when a Hindu boy marries a Muslim girl. How long will such hatred and practices prevail in society? Can we expect the development of such a society?
After the 70 years of Independence, we have failed in coming together and spreading love. In the era of getting influenced by someone else’s idea and hatred, have your own. It is disheartening to see people indulge in wrong arguments and spread hatred.
The love jihad law should only aim to tackle wrong practices, and it shouldn’t only apply to Muslims. Those involved in such deeds must be punished hard, keeping in mind that no one is above the law.
Jai Hind and wishing you all a happy new year