'Love Jihad' in Kerala? Muslim DYFI leader’s marriage with Christian woman sparks political row
Kozhikode(Ker), April 13: A recent interfaith marriage of a Muslim activist of the ruling CPI(M)'s youth wing DYFI, has stirred up a political storm after the relatives of the Christian bride alleged "love jihad", with a senior left party leader supporting the charge, only to retract his statement later.
As the issue snowballed into a major controversy, the Marxist party on Wednesday made it clear that there was nothing unnatural in interfaith marriages and the campaign of 'love jihad' was a creation of RSS and Sangh Parivar.
Relatives of Jyotsna Mary Joseph, a nurse in Saudi Arabia, levelled "love jihad' allegation after she recently walked out on her family and married Shejin, a local DYFI leader belonging to the Muslim community, without their consent.
A section of the Christian community in Thiruvambady here including nuns staged demonstrations against the alleged 'love jihad' in connection with the incident.
A statement issued by the CPI(M) district secretariat member and former MLA George M Thomas supporting the allegations of 'love jihad' on Tuesday added more fuel to the row and triggered an intense social media campaign by a section of people against the ruling party.
However, the CPI(M) district leadership intervened and made Thomas issue a clarification.
Love jihad is a term used by the right wing outfits to claim that Muslim men lure women from other faiths to convert them into Islam.
Denouncing Thomas' remarks, P Mohanan, CPI(M) Kozhikode district secretary, said today that his party has never referred to inter-religious marriages as 'love jihad'.
"Love Jihad is a term used by the RSS and Sangh forces to attack religious minorities. The CPI(M) has already made its stand clear on the topic. Marriage is the choice of individuals and the legal system of the country permits adults to get married according to their choice," he told reporters here.
He said Thomas' controversial remark supporting the 'love jihad' charges should be seen as a slip of the tongue and the ex-MLA was also convinced of the mistake now.
Mohanan also said the DYFI leader could have informed the party leadership about the marriage plan and avoided unwanted controversy.
Meanwhile, the newly-married couple denied the allegations by Jyotsna's relatives.
Addressing reporters in Alappuzha, where the couple is presently staying, Jyotsna said she has all the freedom to stick to her religion till her death.
Shejin clarified that the marriage is a natural culmination of their love affair and the controversy was 'unnecessary.'
Retracting his earlier stance, George M Thomas told media today that his words were conveniently twisted by communal forces to suit their version of inter-religious marriage as 'love jihad'.
He maintained that he endorsed his party's stand on love marriages. However, the marriage has hurt the sentiments of the Christian community, the left leader claimed.
The CPI(M) district leadership is organising an explanation meeting at Kodencherry this evening as the controversy over the wedding refused to die down despite the couple denying 'love jihad' charges.