India is a diverse country. A country with Hindus constitutes the majority population and Muslim are it’s second biggest population. This is despite of the fact that Muslims partitioned India on the name of Islam and got separate lands in the name of Pakistan and Bangladesh. There are significant population of other religions including Parsi, Christian and Jews as well. Indians or Indian law doesn’t discriminate among its citizens based on their religion or faith and that everyone has equal rights and status unlike its neighbouring states.
The problem with the concept of mutual coexistence starts when one community starts trying to change the demography by fraud means. In India, it has been widely reported recently that Muslim youths are targeting women of other religions specifically Hindu and the term used to identify such religious targeting is ‘Love Jihad’. The term first popped up in Kerala High Court which specifically called for urgent measure in this issue. Jihad is a controversial term of Islam which talks about the fight for Islam and generally used to spread all kinds of problems worldwide. Even the partition of India was done in the name of Jihad where the fundamentalists under the umbrella of Muslim League demanded a separate nation for Muslims and got it eventually. Now, similarly Love Jihad is used to target women of other religion and precisely Hindus merely for the sake of conversion.
Any civilized society will allow inter-religious marriage and so does India. However, in case of love Jihad, Muslim Men hide their identity and portray themselves as Hindus or from the religion of the girl they’re targeting to get access, and the girl comes to know about the real identity of the man only after the marriage. India allows four marriage for a Muslim and this acts as the worst case for women many times, they come to know about the other wives of the man months after getting married. Due to legal sanity of multiple marriages to Muslims, women even after feeling cheated are unable to take any action. But the worst part is that in such marriages, the intention is always to convert the women into Islam and is generally forceful.
To counter it, few states including Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have introduced laws where the couple will have to disclose their identity before marriage and in case of failing to do so, strict punishment and fine will be applied. Many times, the women are minor, these laws are not only landmark but also important to bring the stability in the society. However, there are fanatics who are unnecessarily criticising the laws by calling it anti-democratic. This is despite of the fact that these laws are aimed to protect the interests and safety of the women. If there is love between adult couple, no one can stop them from getting married and living together. However, state has its duty to look into the aspect of a possible fraud also known as ‘Love Jihad’.
Author: Adv. Shashank Shekhar Jha
Legal Editor, GoaChronicle.com