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Decoding 'Love Jihad': How Kerala High Court Addressed the Issue in 2009

By LawStreet News Network      08 May, 2023 06:34 PM      0 Comments
Decoding 'Love Jihad': How Kerala HC Addressed the Issue in 2009

Amid the ongoing unease in certain quarters over a movie 'The Kerala Story', it is time to recall how the subject related to 'Love Jihad' and entrapment of innocent Hindu and Christian girls first came to the fore about 14 years ago when the Kerala High Court dealt with bail applications of two Muslim youth.

On December 9, 2009, a single bench of Justice K T Sankaran had rejected anticipatory bail applications of Shahan Sha A and Sirajudeen M, who along with members of Popular Front of India, now banned, were accused of various offences including criminal conspiracy, obscenity and unnatural sex on a complaint by parents of a Hindu and a Christian girl.

The matter revealed how systematically the gangs were involved in targetting vulnerable girls in colleges to convert them to Islamic faith by all means, including threat, coercion and inducement.

"There are indications that several similar instances took place in the State of Kerala. It is stated that there is a movement or project which is called "Romeo Jihad" or "Love Jihad" conceived by a section of the Muslims. The idea appears to be to convert girls belonging to other religions to Islam. Muslim boys are directed to pretend love to girls of other religion and get them converted to Islam. Lot of money is available for executing the project. There are men whose help is available at any time. Organisations are also there to implement the project," the court said.

Though Kerala police initially denied any organised movement like 'Love Jihad', there were reports subsequently stating that more than 100 instances of religious conversion took place in Thiruvananthapuram District alone with the help of the activists of the organisations.

It was also pointed out outfits like Muslim Youth Forum and Musalim Womens organization like Thasreen Millat, Shaheen Force, Popular Front of India, National Democratic Front and its students organisations like Campus Front are the organisations behind the 'Love Jihad' movement.

The court noted one of reports showed that 1600 incidents of conversions had taken place in Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram Districts, the reports received from the District Superintendents of those Districts do not indicate the same. It is also interesting to note that though the Superintendents of Police state that no incidents of such conversions were noticed, some of the superior officers have reported otherwise, it had said.

The central government, for its part, had then declined to bring any law at their level to ban illegal conversions.

One organisation Association for Human Rights (AHR) filed a miscellaneous Application to restrain the State of Kerala, Kerala Police Department, the Media persons, Print and visual to refrain from and to avoid using "Love Jihad" in relation to investigations of love trap cases.

Though the court said inter- religious marriages, arising out of love affairs or otherwise, are to recognised and promoted, it highlighted, "From some of the reports submitted by the police officers concerned to the Director General of Police, it is clear that there is a concerted effort to convert girls belonging to particular religions to another religion. It is also clear that this is being done with the blessings of some outfits mentioned in the reports. This should be of great concern to the people at large and to the Government."

The court also said the rights of the parents to bring up their children in the way all of them like, also cannot be lost sight of. Simply because a boy or girl has become major, that does not mean that the parents have no say in the matter of their future and their career. The parents are entitled to protect their children. The parents are entitled to advise their children and mould their career.

It also noted several State Governments have enacted legislations to prohibit any person to convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religious faith to any other religious faith by the use of force or by inducement or by any fraudulent means.

"In the scenario in the State of Kerala, it is for the people of the State, the Government and the legislators to consider whether any such law should be enacted for the State of Kerala," it had said.

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