Love Jihad: How Kerala's gift to India was lapped up by the ISIS
The menace of Love Jihad is back. In Kerala where the problem is immense has prompted several organisations to set up helplines to save women falling prey to love jihad. Not just Hindus, but even Christians have been complaining of girls falling prey to love jihad.
In Kerala, the CPI(M) has termed this concept as a Sangh propaganda in a bid to expand their vote bank. The issue of Love Jihad is however not new to Kerala. It has been rampant since 2012. In that year itself there were an estimated 2,268 cases reported.
On May 24th, the Kerala High Court annulled a wedding between Shefin Jahan, a Muslim man, and Hadiya, a formerly Hindu woman who converted to Islam. The court said that Hadiya (previously called Akhila) could not be married without the "active involvement" of her parents. It also ordered the police to conduct a probe into suspected conversions of Hindu women by groups linked to the Islamic State.
It was in the year 2012 that for the first time cases of love jihad came to the forefront. An Intelligence Bureau official during one of my visits to Kerala back in 2011 had warned that such a concept was getting rampant. None in the Indian media took the warning seriously and felt that it was some sort of a propaganda.
A year later a lady and her husband were questioned by the police. It was learnt that she was forcibly converted to Islam and married off. It is this case which became the basis of a full-fledged investigation. It was learnt that there were at least 2,268 cases of love jihad across the country with a majority of them being reported from Kerala itself.
WikiLeaks had published a report by United States diplomats that stated, 'Both Hindu and Christian groups have expressed fear and outrage at the plot, while Muslim groups have felt the need to defend their co-religionists against the conspiracy theorists'.
The report said, 'The Commission for Social Harmony and Vigilance of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council had reported that there had been 2,868 female victims of love jihad in Kerala between 2006 and 2009. The panel had made several recommendations to parents through its newsletter, including a recommendation to monitor children's cell-phones and computers, so that they can be better prepared to fight the phenomenon and resist charming young Muslim men involved in the scheme'.
The Kerala high court had also taken note of the matter and asked the police to investigate the cases of two college-going girls, who were allegedly forced to convert to Islam after marrying Muslim men. Some police officials, political leaders and prominent members of both Hindu and Christian communities continue to suspect that 'forced conversions', backed by foreign funds, was rampant in the state.
According to the police in Kerala, in most cases of 'love jihad', the victims are merely used as pawns in criminal activities. Many of the victims have no idea what they are getting into and often get into lured by the young men. But the police also point out that only some -- not all -- of the nearly 2,000 recorded cases of conversion are a result of 'love jihad'.