“Love Jihad”, ghost crusade of Hindu nationalists

Arman and Shalu’s love story began ten years ago, on the streets of Delhi, when they met after class. However, in a conservative India, interfaith couples face an obstacle to accepting their union. Especially if the young man is Muslim, like Arman, and the Hindu woman, like Shalu.

Determined, the couple got married in February and found refuge in the center of Dhanak, supporting the couple in adversity. For Arman’s in -laws filed a complaint for kidnapping. And raised the specter of “jihad of love”, a theory promoted by Hindu groups that accuse Muslim men of marrying young Hindus to force them to convert.

A law “against conversions”

Muslims never want to seduce Hindu women in this way! “, The single protest. However, the imaginary fear of “jihad of love” has spread in India. Several states led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party are preparing to adopt laws against “jihad of love”.

Uttar Pradesh recently took to the introduction of a law “against conversions”, which focuses on marriages that have ended “ with the intention of changing the woman’s religion “, In the words of a minister. This State, ruled by a fundamentalist monk, Yogi Adityanath, thus seeks “ protect the honor of our sisters and sisters “. A Muslim man was arrested for the first time in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday for alleged violation of the new law. He was given a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment.

In fact, “jihad of love” does not exist. The term feeds the paranoid fantasy of a conspiracy of the Muslim minority against the Hindus. Over the past decade, controversy has sparked court fights that have struggled to prove the truth of the theory. The authorities themselves admitted to having registered “no proven cases”. Complaints of forced marriage or kidnapping are often made by parents who do not consent to their Hindu daughter marrying a Muslim, as in the case of Arman and Shalu. Recently, in Uttar Pradesh, fourteen investigations into “suspicious” marriages erased the conspiracy theory.

A wave of anger

The idea of ​​Hindu women being victims of a “jihad of love” is completely false said Asif Iqbal, who runs the Dhanak Center. On the contrary, he sees the arrival of young mixed couples who are afraid of accusations of “jihad in love”. He was concerned about the adoption of the new laws: “It will be an additional tool of harassment and a ten-fold way to put pressure on the part of parents, with the support of the police and administration.” This search for “jihad of love” was however opposed by a Supreme Court ruling dated from 2018, which reaffirmed individual marital freedom and imposed the obligation to protect couples different from religion.

In the immediate future, the crusade of Hindu nationalists generated a wave of anger. ” Prohibiting something that does not exist is a first “, mocked the daily The Times of India.” Can anyone explain to Hindus that we should make a law against hatred, and not against love? “, launched, on Twitter, politician Shashi Tharoor. The underlying misogyny has also created a reaction among the people.” Hindu women should have the brain and freedom to choose their partner “recalled lawyer Karuna Nundy.

And the controversy has fueled the more beautiful ambient Islamophobia under Narendra Modi’s time. Last month, the announcement of a jewelry brand, presenting a young Hindu with his Muslim mother-in-law, had already burned to powder. It was withdrawn under pressure from Hindu groups. ” For the first time in my life, I avoided saying my Muslim name in publicsaddened Asima, a 28-year-old teacher, whose boyfriend is Hindu. Being Muslim in India is never as difficult. »

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