What is the Love Jihad law?

India Dec 04, 2020

Love Jihad is a term coined to depict a certain sect of inter-faith marriages in a monstrous way. Coerced religious conversions for interfaith marriages cases are widely seen in the news these days. Many states are attempting to ban these religious conversions for the sole purpose of marriage.

Recently the Uttar Pradesh Government introduced a law outlawing ‘Love Jihad’ this is one of the first of at least five states led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that are considering a new legislation targeting interfaith relationships in India.

The ‘Love Jihad’ has received renewed attention after a Hindu woman in Haryana was murdered in October by a Muslim man who, her family said that he had pressured her to convert and marry him. The new law that has been agreed by the CM Yogi Adityanath led cabinet, the new law has no mention of this term but it outlaws “unlawful religious conversions” through marriage.

States like The Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019, and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, both prohibit conversion by misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, inducement, allurement and ‘by marriage’. There is a separate section in both laws under which, not conversion for the purpose of marriage, but marriage has done solely for the purpose of conversion, may be declared null and void by a family court based on a suit by either party. Karnataka has spoken about a separate enactment too.

It has been blown out of proportion for individual interests that the remedy is not to make stringent laws against interfaith marriages but that will harass and create hurdles in the way of innocent love.

The solution is to educate and empower youth and make them independent economically as well as psychologically as the need of the hour is to facilitate the marriage without the compulsion of conversion. The interfaith marriages and religious conversions should not be a matter of concern for social watchdogs. The mere statement of two consenting adults about the existence of their matrimonial relation should be sufficient.

This article has been written by Yashovardhan Tiwary for The Paradigm

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