(Originally published by Scientific And Polemic Society, Shimla)
In 2007 Communal Ideological Campaign of “Love Jehad” gained currency the fringe Far-Right organisation Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) in the Dakshina Kannada district of coastal Karnataka and parts of northern Kerala. HJS, until recently, openly associated itself with the Sanathan Sanstha, which has been named in several terror cases like the 2009 Goa bomb blasts and was linked to the murders of Rationalists like Govind Pansare,Narendra Dabholkar, M.M. Kalburgi, and journalist Gauri Lankesh. It’s leaders in multiple Public meetings started using the term ‘love jihad’ to suggest that Muslim men strategically entrap Hindu women, marry them and convert them to Islam as part of an Islamist project – the larger objective, according to the organisation, being to reduce Hindus to a minority group in India.
On its website, the HJS equated Muslim youth to “sexual wolves” on the prowl. It also claimed without any evidence that as many as 30,000 women had already been converted to Islam in Karnataka alone, while in Dakshina Kannada, around three Hindu women became victims of “love jihad” everyday.
However, with Popular support to back its claims, the HJS campaign could not take off as the Indian fascist movement had wanted it to.
Around the same period, the HJS intensified its communal campaign by claiming that an organisation called Muslim Youth Forum and multiple other Islamic websites had been training young men for ‘love jihad’.
The allegations were probed by the Kerala police, which found no merit in them. Later the Kerala high court held that inter-faith marriages were common and could not be seen as a criminal act.
But the HJS and other Sangh affiliates curiously moderated the ‘love jihad’ pitch from thereon, until the BJP unit of UP activated it again as a political strategy in 2012 – this time in rural areas of western UP where the notions of patriarchal honour and caste solidarities are deeply entrenched. The ‘love jihad’ campaign in western UP was much more elaborate than what it was in coastal Karnataka. Here, the Sangh parivar activists used the idea to amplify the old Fascist rhetoric that stereotypes Muslims as cow slaughterers, lustful reproductive machines, criminals and black-marketeers.
The campaign had such an impact that in late 2012, a khap panchayat in western UP banned women from carrying mobile phones altogether. After all, according to the rumour fuelled by the Sangh parivar, mobile phone shops managed by Muslim youth were the first stops for Hindu women and Muslim men to interact. This decision was subsequently endorsed by many other khap panchayats of the contiguous Jat-dominated region in western UP and Haryana.
The seeds of distrust had thus been sown before the Muzaffarnagar communal riots in 2013. It merely took a small skirmish between some Hindu and Muslim men over a motorbike, in which one Muslim man was killed, to snowball into a full-fledged communal riot that ravaged the region for days.
As the day passed, the Sangh parivar started circulating an old video in which Taliban members were seen lynching a person and claiming this was the lynching in Kawal village. The fake video was circulated along with the rumour that the two Jat men were lynched when they tried to prevent Muslims from stalking their sister.
To stoke communal tension, the Sangh parivar then organised a massive rally for the cremation of the two Jat men who were killed. On their way back from the cremation, the mob entered Muslim colonies in Kawal on tractors and motorbikes. They vandalised and looted Muslim houses and shops, and burnt down mosques of the area while shouting slogans like “Jao Pakistan, warna kabristan , ‘Hindu ekta zindabad and ‘Ek ke badle ek 100”.
The Fascist project was still incomplete. As the fake video was widely circulated, a few Jat leaders and some of them were already associated with fascist groups who were by now heavily influenced by the RSS’s ‘love jihad’ campaign called for a mahapanchayat, or a general body meeting of the Jat community, with the stated agenda “to defend Jat honour against aggressive Muslims”. Such mahapanchayats had some representation from the Muslim community historically, but no more. The mahapanchayat together, gave a call to defend the honour of “their women”. The mahapanchayat came to be known as ‘Bahu, Beti Bachao Mahasammelan.
Those who attended the Mahasammelan resorted to violence against Muslims on their way back. The Muslim leadership organised its own panchayats to try and counter the violence. Over the next few days, communal violence gradually spread to across Muzaffarnagar which killed more than 100 people, most of them Muslim, and displaced more than 50,000 Muslims from their villages.
The ‘love jihad’ campaign resulted in one of the biggest demographic transformations in India.
In Hindu-dominated villages, Muslims had left their homes and properties to settle elsewhere. Likewise, in most Muslim-majority villages, although fewer in number, a large section of Hindus had fled. In Kawal and many other such villages, the People had illegally occupied all Muslim land and households, even as thousands of Poor Muslims were thrust into relief camps.
But this Campaign wasn’t just limited to organised riots Indian fascist movement delivered this lie to the households through media, digital media and most importantly by their trenches in each and every public Areas.
And after Capturing State Power this process got momentum.
And Now State after State are passing anti-conversion ordinance against so called “love Jehad”. And this move is giving the result for which it came into existence that is terrorising minorities and Female section of society.
Some Of The Prime Examples
- Young woman protests after man she meant to marry is arrested under interfaith marriage law (https://scroll.in/…/watch-young-woman-protests-after…)
- Another Muslim Man Arrested Under ‘Love Jihad’ Ordinance in UP, man’s wife said that they had been consensually married to each other for five months (https://www.thequint.com/…/another-muslim-man-arrested…)
- UP: No FIR, no conversion, but Muslim man held for ‘love jihad’ probe (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/…/79648822.cms…)
- UP Police Stop Wedding, ‘Beat up Groom’ Based on ‘Love Jihad’ Rumours (https://thewire.in/…/up-police-love-jihad-rumours-beat…)
- First woman detained under India’s controversial Love Jihad laws ‘forced into miscarriage’ (https://news.yahoo.com/…/first-woman-detained-under…)
- UP Muslim teen meets Dalit girl for ‘pizza outing’, lands in jail under anti-conversion law (https://theprint.in/india/up-muslim-teen-meets-dalit-girl-for-pizza-outing-lands-in-jail-under-anti-conversion-law/572473)
- UP Teen, Returning From Birthday Party, Jailed For ‘Conversion’ (https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bijnor-uttar-pradesh-teen-returning-from-birthday-party-harassed-jailed-for-alleged-conversion-2343414)
And many more…
This law is against the right of female section of society to “live life on her terms” and basics idea of Love, and a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals also. States are using it to terrorise minorities which is part of their fascist agenda. We Stand by the idea Freedom to love and to choose love and we stand against the atrocities against minorities.
Roll back this Communal Fascist Law!
Stand Against Fascist State!
[Published in The Truth: Platform for Radical Voices of The Working Class (Issue 9 / January 2021)]