Love Jihad is also known as Romeo Jihad which is an Islamophobic conspiracy theory. This generally means that the Muslim men target the non-Muslim women communities to shift to Islamic religion by feigning love. Many people term the concept as anti-feminist because of the paternalistic nature/attitude on women’s choice of marriage and also allegedly using their rights as a cover for Hindu nationalism. In the year 2009, the tension attached to it had first rose in the states of Kerala and Karnataka, later which had spread in the overseas, primarily in countries like United Kingdom, Myanmar and Pakistan.
Many religious groups use concepts like love bombing and Flirty Fishing in order to grow the interest amongst the Muslim men for the continuance of Love Jihad. Here, the Muslim play with the emotion of the women of other religions into conversion by feigning love. Many people are found to fund such activities.
Controversies of the concept arose during the 1920s over inter religious marriage, which had continued till independence, 1947 During this time, the concept of force marriage had a different term, known as “Abductions”, which in today’s generation means kidnapping with an ill intention of an elderly person, beyond the age of 18 (in case of a female) and 16 (in case of a male), without consent. During those days, the fear of women had led as a catalyst of violation against women.
First allegations of the concept of Love Jihad had arose in September 2009, in the states of Kerala and Bangalore. In 2000s, two Muslim organisations, namely, Popular Front of India and Campus Front were accused for promoting the activity.
It was found that as of 25th June, 2014, the then Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy had informed that approximately 2,667 young women had convert, which had started since 2006. Though there were no records found as to whether they had been forced to convert or had fears.
It was found out that in Myanmar, the leader of 969 Movement, Wirathu, had stated that many Muslim men had pretended as Buddhists, and later, many Buddhist women were enticed into Islamic religion.
A Christian organisation, named Christian Association for Social Action and Vishwa Hindu Parishad had joined their hands. The latter organisation had created a helpline known as the Hindu Helpline stating that it had answered 1,500 calls relating to Love Jihad.
In December, 2011, Mallika Prasad, a member of the BJP had stated that the problem of Love Jihad was rapidly increasing and many were going unreported. Between the months of January ad November, 2011, as far as 69 of 84 Hindu girls were missing. After, they were recovered, the women had confessed that they had been tempted by the Muslim youths who had preached fake love.
In 2014, the Reuters had considered the term as “an absurd conspiracy theory by mainstream, moderate Indians”. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister had commented that the Muslim community cannot force the women and do whatever they think like. Therefore, the Hindu activists had concerned the non-Muslim women to befriend them. An influential community in Uttar Pradesh had urged the young women to control the use of cell phones in order to prevent such vulnerable activities.
But in the same year, it had been found that, many Muslim males were being motivated in Madrasa for the concept of Love Jihad with the proposals to non-Muslim women. It stated rewards like Rs. 11 lakh would be rewarded if the man had proposed a Sikh girl, Rs.10 lakhs magazine, where the caption underneath had read “Conversion of nationality through religious conversion”.
In May 2017, the High Court of Kerala had considered a marriage as null and void as a Hindu woman had converted into Islamic religion stating that the parents of the bride were not present at the time of their marriage. Also, neither of the bride’s parents had given consent of their marriage. Later, the Apex Court had overturned the decision stating that since the girl had married on her own will, therefore, the marriage would not be termed as null and void, but had urged the NIA to carry on their investigation into the allegations of terror and dimension.
In June, 2018, the High Court of Jharkhand had had granted a divorce in an alleged Love Jihad case, where the accused was found that he had hidden his religion, and later had asked the victim to change her religion to Islam.
Lastly, in 2020, the Syro Malabar Church had continued to protest on concept of Live Jihad. It had stated that many Christian women were asked to wear a terrorist outfit, many were made sex slaves or even killed.
In the same year, September 27th, a video had gone viral which showed that a female Hindu college goer, aged about 21 years, was shot by a Muslim man, who was a jilted lover and his associate during daytime outside the campus in Faridabad. It was found out that she was forced to convert and marry.
Due to issues, the Yogi government had made a strategy to prevent this conversion, in the name of love and had later passed a bill.
Laws Against the Concept
On 25th November, 2020, four BJP ruled states, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka had designed a law to bar the concept of marriage by force, commonly known as “Love Jihad” Law. The law was approved on 28th November, 2020, known as “Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance”. The law states that those marriages will be termed as null and void, where the marriage was solely meant for the woman to “change her religion”, and if any such incidents were found, then those who would break the law, would be sentenced to imprisonment up to 10 years. This bill was drafted in Madhya Pradesh, and was later approved in the month of December.