The horrific murder of Shraddha Walkar by Aftab Amin Poonawala has brought the menace of Love Jihad to the forefront.
Shraddha’s father has alleged an angle of Love Jihad. Police authorities are investigating the Love Jihad angle to the heinous crime.
Love Jihad is a reality in India.
It is not a conspiracy theory but a conspiracy against the people of India who do not belong to the radicalized faith in Islam. Neither is it a Hindutva drummed-up fear-psychosis against the Muslims in India because even leaders of the Catholic Church have raised alarm bells at their religious sermons in Kerala.
On January 14, 2020, a prominent Catholic Bishop in Kerala claimed that young men and women, belonging to the Christian community and other non-Muslim faiths, were being lured and targeted through means such as ‘love jihad’ and ‘narcotic jihad’ in the state.
Addressing the laity on the occasion of the Eight Days of Lent of Mary earlier this week, Joseph Kallarangatt, Bishop of the Palai diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church, alleged that those who claim that ‘love jihad’ doesn’t exist in Kerala are “blind to reality.” “Such people, be they politicians or those from social and cultural spaces, media may have their own vested interests. But one thing is clear. We are losing our young women. It is not just about love marriages. It’s a war strategy to destroy their lives,” he claimed.
The Bishop, presiding over a diocese that has the largest concentration of Syro-Malabar Catholics in the state, alluded to former DGP Loknath Behera’s statement that Kerala was becoming a recruitment center for terrorists and that it was home to ‘sleeper cells’ for such persons. “Like in other parts of the world, there is a section of Muslims in Kerala who want to create animosity between communities and spread religious hatred. Jihadis are using different means to spread Islam and they are into targeting young non-Muslim girls for the same,” he said citing examples of Nimisha, a Hindu girl, and Sonia Sebastian, a Christian girl, who got converted to Islam after falling in love with Muslim men and finally joined the dreaded Islamic State in Syria.
He further elucidated, “In a democratic country like ours, since it’s not easy to use weapons to destroy people of other faiths, jihadis are using means which are not easily identifiable. In the view of jihadis, non-Muslims are to be destroyed. When the objective is an expansion of their religion and the destruction of non-Muslims, the means they use are of different forms. Two of such widely-discussed means today are love jihad and narcotics jihad.
The Bishop went on to claim that schools, colleges, hostels, training institutes, and business establishments were being used by ‘jihadis’ to lay traps and lure young women.
The Christian community in Kerala has consistently raised the issue of love jihad. Previously, Kerala Catholics Bishop Council Deputy General Secretary Varghese Vallikkat stood up against the phenomenon and said that “love jihad” should be addressed at a broader level and “secular political parties should at least accept” that it existed in Kerala.
Deepika, the Malayalam daily run by the Catholic Church, in the month of April this year raised serious concerns over the elopement of Joisna Joseph and MS Shejin. The duo belonged to the Christian and Muslim faith respectively. On April 9. Joisna’s parents and the church committee flagged the matter as a case of ‘Love Jihad’ and stated that the girl was trapped.
Several Christian groups have pledged support to the church and to the parents who are sticking to the stand that the 28-year-old girl was trapped by an organized gang through coercion.
The editorial titled ‘The Questions Raised by Kodanchery’ in the daily said people should think about why some marriages were triggering controversies in a state where thousands of interfaith unions take place.
In September this year, a pastoral letter from the Thalassery archdiocese in Kerala created quite a flutter here as it claimed that innocent Christian girls are being targeted and trapped by terrorist organizations by using the method of love trap. The letter called to pray for the helpless parents whose children have fallen prey to religious extremists