“Love Jihad” is a social evil and a law is necessary to tackle it, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said today, revealing that the state government was consulting experts on the subject. The minister made the comments in support of a leader of the BJP – which rules the state – announcing that such a law was in the making.
“This love jihad has been there for some time and it is a social evil. A law is necessary – that has been the loud thinking of various sections of society in all states,” Mr Bommai said today.
He pointed out that states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh – all BJP-ruled – were exploring similar laws.
“We are looking at what steps we are going to take and we are consulting our law experts also. Based on those decisions, we would also like to have some protection… this inducement of youngsters into love jihad and then conversion,” said the minister.
“Love jihad” is a pejorative used by right-wing groups to target relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women, which, they say, is a ruse to forcibly convert the women.
Mr Bommai reacted after BJP’s National General Secretary CT Ravi, a former minister, indicated in a tweet that the state could bring law banning religious conversion for the purpose of marriage.
“On lines of Allahabad High Court’s order, Karnataka will enact a law banning religious conversions for the sake of marriage… Anyone involved in the act of conversion shall face severe and swift punishment (sic),” he said in a tweet that referred to Muslim men as “jihadis”.
The comment comes after the Allahabad High Court ruled on October 31 that religious conversion for the purpose of marriage is illegal. The court delivered the order while dismissing the petition of an interfaith couple in Uttar Pradesh asking that the police and the woman’s father be directed not to harass them. The couple had married in July.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, referring to the order, invoked a Hindu funeral chant to warn people against it. Haryana and Madhya Pradesh also said they would explore the possibility of bringing laws to check such conversions.