NEW DELHI – The bogey of ‘love jihad’ reared its head on many different occasions last year, with several BJP-ruled states passing anti-conversion laws.
According to the India Today Group-Karvy Insights Mood of the Nation (MOTN) January 2021 poll, there is a belief among respondents (54 per cent) in a widespread “love jihad” conspiracy to convert Hindu women to Islam. Only 36 per cent said there was no such conspiracy.
Besides, 58 per cent of those surveyed backed laws passed to discourage inter-faith marriages. The survey claims that while more than 60 per cent Hindus support such laws, 51 per cent Muslims oppose it.
BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have passed laws prohibiting religious conversion for the purpose of marriage in recent months while two other states — Haryana and Karnataka — are mulling similar legislations. The controversial laws by UP and Uttarakhand have been challenged in the Supreme Court.
In Uttar Pradesh, for instance, the police had, till mid-January, lodged at least 17 cases under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020. While 14 of them relate to inter-personal relationships, marriages and elopement involving Hindu women and Muslim men, in at least three cases the ordinance has been slapped against Hindus and Christians on charges of the latter allegedly luring people into converting to Christianity. In two such cases, the complainants are directly linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the BJP.
More than half of the respondents (54 per cent) are opposed to inter-faith marriages while 41 per cent are in its favour, the MOTN survey showed. Religion-wise breakup shows 57 per cent Hindus are opposed to inter-faith marriages, while 41 per cent Muslims resent it.