‘Love Jihad’ is a BJP creation to divide the nation, says Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot. Marriage is a matter of personal liberty, he added.
Gehlot on Friday tore into the ‘love jihad’ controversy and accused the BJP of “manufacturing” the phrase to divide the nation along communal lines. He said marriages, including inter-faith unions, are a matter of personal liberty. Any law to curb them would not stand in court, he added.
The Rajasthan chief minister’s comments come amid plans in four BJP-ruled states – Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka – to outlaw what the respective governments and the BJP call ‘love jihad’.
“Love Jihad’ is a BJP-coined phrase to divide the nation, and disturb communal harmony. Marriage is a matter of personal liberty. Bringing a law to curb it is completely unconstitutional. And it will not stand in any court of law. Jihad has no place in love (sic),” Gehlot said on Twitter.
‘Love jihad’ is a ‘trap’, says BJP minister
Hitting back at Gehlot, Union minister and BJP leader Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said ‘love jihad’ in a ‘trap’. “Dear Ashok ji, Love Jihad is a trap. Thousands of young women, who believe that marriage is a personal affair, later turns out it isn’t. And also, if it is a matter of personal liberty, then why the women are not free to keep their maiden name, or religion?” he tweeted.
“Since congress wants to support this act of deceit under the garb of personal liberty, isn’t it becomes a blatant display of its communal agenda,” Shekhawat added.
UP proposes for legislation
In Uttar Pradesh, the home department has sent a proposal to the department of law for a love jihad legislation. The law department will work out the legal modalities after which the government is likely to issue an ordinance.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had, at a by-election meeting in Jaunpur recently, said that his government was planning a strict law against so-called love jihad.
MP to bring Freedom of Religion Bill
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in MP has said, the state would soon have a law against ‘love jihad’. Home Minister Narottam Mishra has said non-bailable charges would be applicable in cases of love jihad in Madhya Pradesh.
“We are making preparations to introduce Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020 in Assembly. It will provide for 5 years of rigorous imprisonment. We are also proposing to declare such crime a cognizable and non-bailable offence,” Narottam Mishra had said.
Haryana to setup a panel to draft law
In Haryana, home minister Viz announced that a committee would be setup to draft a “strict” law against “love jihad”. The home minister said that “with the enactment of this law, strict action would be taken against any person, who is found indulging in forceful religious conversion, tempting someone or is involved in any kind of conspiracy or tries to do so in the name of love”.
Karnataka government to frame law
Karnataka government has also plans to ban religious conversions for marriages. Chief minister BS Yediyurappa said his government is already in talks with experts to frame a law.