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'Love Jihad' exists says Kerala HC, asks law to check it


Thursday, December 10, 2009 09:31:51 AM, & Agencies

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Kochi: The flip-flop on inter-caste marriages in Kerala that a section in the media terms as 'Love Jihad' or 'Forceful Conversion' took a new turn when Kerala High Court said it found traces of such acts.


Observing that there are indications of "forceful" religious conversions under the guise of "love" in Kerala, the state high court today suggested the government to consider enacting a law to prohibit such "deceptive" acts.


"Under the pretext of love there cannot be any compulsive, deceptive conversion," the court said.


Justice K T Sankaran made the observations dismissing anticipatory bail applications by two accused in activities of 'Love Jihad', allegedly involving converting girls from other religions to Islam after enticing them to marry Muslim boys.


After perusing the case diary in 'Love Jihad' cases, he held there were indications of forceful religious conversions. From some of the police reports, it was clear there was a 'concerted' effort to convert girls of a particular religion to another with the 'blessings of some outfits', he said.


This should be of concern to people at large and government was bound to protect the fundamental rights of citizens, the court said and asked the legislature to consider enactment of law to prohibit compulsive conversion of religious faiths.


Any use of force for propagation of religion was illegal and may cause law and order problems, Sankaran said. Quoting statistics, the court said during the last four years 3,000 to 4,000 religious conversions have taken place after love affairs.


According to reports by special branch of police, fundamental outfits like National Democratic Front (NDF) and Campus Front have roots in college campuses in various cities, it said.


As per available information, the plan was to 'trap' brilliant upper caste Hindu and Christian girls from well-to-do families. Though there was no evidence so far to show 'Love Jihad' has operations all over India, it was said the programme was started in 1996 with blessings of some Muslim organisations, the court observed.


The court earlier dismissed the anticipatory bail applications of Shanshah and Sirajuddin, two youths who had eloped with girls belonging to Hindu and Christian religions.


The girls who were produced in the court following habeas corpus petitions were at first not willing to return to their parents. However, they agreed to go later on conditions prescribed by the two accused.


According to police, the girls said they were persuaded to convert to Islam and were directed not to disclose the activities of Popular Front which was allegedly assisting the two accused. "Their religious faith was questioned and insulted, they told police."


Referring to the petitions, judge Sankaran said there were several insinuations against the court. The petitioners made comments which borders on contempt of court. "I am inclined to forget and forgive," he said.


Kerala DGP Jacob Punnose had on November 11 informed the court that no conclusive evidence had yet been received about 'Love Jihad'. The court had earlier expressed dissatisfaction with Punnose's October 22 statement, saying some answers were 'vague'.


Punnose had said there were reasons to suspect 'concentrated attempts' to persuade the girls to convert to Islam after falling in love with Muslim boys, but no outfit called "Love Jihad" had been identified.


Earlier, local Muslim leaders have denied existence of any such acts. Stating that inter-caste marriages in Kerala are common they termed the allegations as yet another attempt to defame the Muslim community.


Jamaat-e-Islami secretary M K Mohammed Ali said that Islam was against using forceful means for conversion. "There has been a tendency among youngsters to fall in love during their college days. But we do not think that any particular community is using love as a means to conversion," he said.


Some mosques in Thiruvananthapuram district too are sensitizing the Muslims against Love Jihad. "Though we have not come across any sort of Love Jihad activities here, it has indeed become a point of discussion during the regular prayer meetings," said Vallakkadavu Jama-ath president Saiffudin.








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