New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday advised a young man to become a “great lover” during a hearing in a case of inter-religious marriage. The court said that it was not against inter-religious or inter-caste marriages but is only concerned about the future of the bride. The term “love jihad” did not figure in the court proceedings.
A disputed case of inter-religious marriage in Chhattisgarh had come up for hearing in the apex court on Wednesday. The case is about a Hindu woman married to a Muslim man. The man said he embraced Hinduism after being accepted by the woman’s family. While the woman’s family alleges that his claim about conversion is a lie.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said the court was concerned only with the girl’s future. “We are not against inter-religious or inter-caste marriages,” the judge said.
The court said one should have a “faithful husband” and a “great lover”. In what reminds people of the phenomenon of love jihad, the lawyer of the woman’s father insisted that it was a racket to trap Hindu girls.
The apex court has asked the Muslim youth to file an affidavit. The court asked the person if he had changed his name after marriage in an Arya Samaj temple and had taken the necessary commissions for the change of his name.
The lawyer for the woman’s father said that the woman did not need any protection. The apex court has sought a reply from the state government and has allowed an intervention application from the girl.
History of love jihad
The soft attitude of the highest court of the country towards the Muslim defendant is not surprising as it is indeed not possible for the state to speak against inter-religious marriages. We are calling it “soft” because the issue of demographic change has been out-and-out ignored. A converted woman is not just one person switching communities; she will bear children of the religion she has converted to. The world knows what happens to a country when Muslims become the majority: It turns into an Islamic state.
There has been a history of denial of the obvious by the judiciary. This is another issue like that of Bangladeshi infiltration that the state blissfully feigned ignorance about — until a nationwide debate sparked by the NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill made many acknowledge the scourge.
Love jihad or Romeo jihad is an alleged effort by Muslim men to target women belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love. The concept caught national attention in the country in 2009 with some case of conversions first in Kerala and subsequently in Karnataka.
In November 2009, DGP Jacob Punnoose stated there was no organisation whose members lured girls in Kerala by feigning love with the intention of converting. He told the Kerala High Court that three out of 18 reports he had received expressed some doubts about the tendency. However, in the absence of “solid proof”, the investigations were still continuing.
The next month, Justice KT Sankaran, who refused to accept Punnoose’s report, concluded from a case diary that there were indications of forceful conversions. The judge stated it was clear from police reports there was a “concerted effort” to convert women with “blessings of some outfits”. The court while hearing bail plea of two accused in “love jihad” cases stated that there had been 3,000-4,000 such conversions in the past four years.
However, the Kerala High Court in December 2009 stayed investigations in the case, granting relief to the two accused though it criticised police investigations. The investigation was closed by Justice M Sasidharan Nambiar following Punnoose’s statements that no conclusive evidence could be found for the existence of love jihad.
The Karnataka government stated in 2010 that although a large number of women had converted to Islam, there was no organised attempt to convince them to do so.
In 2012, after two years of investigation into the alleged phenomenon of love jihad, Kerala Police declared it as a “campaign with no substance”. Subsequently, a case was initiated against the website where fake posters of Muslim organisations offering money to Muslim youths for luring and trapping women were found.
Uttar Pradesh Police in September 2014 found no evidence of attempted or forced conversion in five of six reported cases of love jihad in the past three months. The police said sporadic cases of trickery by unscrupulous men were not evidence of a broader conspiracy.
In 2017, after the Kerala High Court ruled that a marriage of a Hindu woman to a Muslim man was invalid on the basis of love jihad, and an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court by the Muslim husband, The court, based on the “unbiased and independent” evidence requested by the court from NIA, instructed the National Investigation Agency to probe all similar cases for establishing the pattern of love jihad. It allowed the NIA to explore all similar suspicious incidences to find whether banned organisations, such as SIMI, are preying on vulnerable Hindu women to recruit them as terrorists.
The NIA had earlier submitted before the court that the case was not an “isolated” incident and it had detected a pattern emerging in the state, stating that another case involved the same people who acted as instigators.