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Tuesday 28 January 2020

Minorities Commission acknowledges love jihad

National Commission for Minorities vice-chairman George Kurian has written to Home Minister Amit Shah, complaining of rampant love jihad in Kerala

New Delhi: The National Commission for Minorities, or a considerable section of it, has acknowledged the scourge of love jihad, the concern for which is often scoffed at by the intelligentsia. And the concern is being voiced the loudest not by any Hindutva group but by Christians of Kerala, where the term was first coined in the last decade.

Vice-chairman of the National Commission for Minorities George Kurian has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah a letter complaining of several recent incidents of organised religious conversion in Kerala. Kurian has complained also of “using the victims for terror activities”.

The National Commission for Minorities vice-chairman says that the victims, mostly belonging to the Christian community, are low-hanging fruits for Islamists. He tells Shah the handlers are trapping the converted through “love jihad”.

Kurian cites the example of a Christian man from Kozhikode in Kerala who alleges that Islamists are trying to convert his daughter by blackmailing him. “Take note of this alarming trend and order a probe by the National Investigative Agency,” Kurian has written to Shah, and legislate to “curb such fraudulent activities of radicalised elements”.

Jagratha, the mouthpiece of Kerala Catholics Bishops Council, published in 2015 that “around 4,000 young girls were converted to Islam under Love Jihad between 2005 and 2012”. The issue of conversion for marriages turned political when several girls under 30 years of age converted to Islam after falling in love with Muslims between 2008 and 2015. The then Chief Minister of Kerala Oommen Chandy had said in the state Assembly that 7,713 persons had been converted to Islam between 2006 and 2012.

The letter from its vice-chairman follows the National Commission for Minorities’ receipt of complaints on forced religion conversions that two Christian families in Kerala complained about. In one of the incidents that occurred in Kozhikode, a Christian college student was allegedly raped and the act was filmed by the accused to force the victim to convert to Islam. After the victim refused to convert, the perpetrators tried to abduct her from her hostel.

In the other incident, a certain Mohammad Siddiqui kidnapped a Christian girl hailing from Kerala but working in Delhi and trafficked to a Middle Eastern country. The parents of the girl expressed fear that their daughter “could have been misled, cheated, brainwashed or abducted and led astray with very nefarious designs like joining an outfit such as IS or being used as a slave”.

“The fears expressed by the parents are not misplaced, given the experiences in similar cases in the past. Reports suggest that out of 21 persons who joined the ISIS from Kerala, five were converted from Christianity,” Kurian said in the letter.

The vice-chairman of the body of minorities has quoted data from Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference’s Commission for Social Harmony and Vigilance, saying that at least “4,000 girls have been subjected to conversion since 2005 (till 2012) after they fell in love. The victims were sexually harassed or had to spend the rest of their lives in a pathetic condition without any freedom”.

Kurian says he has all the reason to believe the parents’ fear could be true. In the past, he says, at least 21 people from Kerala had joined the ISIS, of which five were converted from Christian to Islam.

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