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India: Gujarat: Are BJP leaders counseling women against inter faith marriages?

Sunday 20 December 2020, by siawi3

Source: https://sabrangindia.in/article/gujarat-are-bjp-leaders-counseling-women-against-inter-faith-marriages

Communalism Politics
Gujarat: Are BJP leaders counseling women against inter faith marriages?

Several BJP leaders including the party city President recently met a 23-year-old woman, and explained the pros and cons of her marriage to a Muslim boy of the same age

Sabrangindia

19 Dec 2020

A Gujarat based interfaith couple, in their 20’s had eloped and registered their nikahnama in Bandra, Mumbai a couple of days back. R.A. Jadeja, police inspector of Karelibaug police station, told The Indian Express that the couple came back to Vadodara but they felt intimidated by the tension in the neighbourhood and sought protection.

Even though their marriage was considered “valid” by the Gujarat police, they have been sent back to their respective families instead of residing together as a married couple. Jadeja told the media, “They are adults and have told us that they married each other with consent. The girl converted to Islam and they had a nikah ceremony in Mumbai, So, we cannot book them under the prevailing law of Gujarat where conversion for marriage requires the consent of the collector. Had they married here without such consent; we could have booked the case but there is no such law in Maharashtra.”

The nightmare did not end there, as police officials attached to the Karelibaug police station in Vadodara had to reportedly physically stop the entry of some people into the thana to protest against the newly wed couple on the night of December 16. As the Police anticipated a law-and-order problem, they sent the couple back to their respective parent’s home.

The Indian Express has further reported that some right wing Bhartiya Janta Party leaders including Ranjan Bhatt, Seema Mohile, party city President Dr. Vijay Shah and erstwhile Mayor Sunil Solanki met the 23-year-old woman and counselled her to rethink her marriage with the Muslim man. They elucidated the pros and cons of her marriage to her now husband.

Bhatt also spoke to the media and said, “The girl is extremely disturbed but she is opening up now and beginning to understand the importance of what everyone is trying to tell her. Their decision to elope and marry is not good for both of them. They are college dropouts and have only completed HSC. Neither of them has a stable income. As elders, we are advising her to think of practical life. Their marriage will not last more than a few months once reality strikes.”

According to Bhatt, the couple was warmly received by the boy’s family and when they started looking for a house, she registered the rent deal under a Hindu name although she has now converted to Islam. Bhatt further remarked, “We just wish good for both the children. They are not mature enough to make such a decision. So, we are trying to counsel the girl to agree to seek an annulment and build her life.”

Affirming that they will help the couple and support their decision, Ranjan Bhatt also told the media that they have “advised” the couple’s family to cool off for four days and decide the next course of action over whether they could sort out the matter within the two households. But is there a matter that needs to be sorted out?

Referring to this incident, party MLA Shailesh Mehta has also written to the Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for an anti-love jihad law in the State citing many instances of rising “cases of Hindu girls being lured by a particular minority community”.

Apart from Uttar Pradesh, States like Karnataka, Haryana are looking at bringing in anti-conversion laws. Madhya Pradesh, which already has a Freedom of Religion Act, is set to introduce a new law which will be an extension of the Beti Bachao Andolan. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh told the media that it is time to “save the daughters”, sending out a strong message that those who cheat them will not be spared.

In another case of heaping injustice, yesterday, on December 18, a young 19-year-old Muslim boy was booked under the Uttar Pradesh love Jihad law by the Meerut Police and arrested on charges of enticing a minor girl allegedly by concealing his original identity and attempting to coerce her into conversion. He has also been charged for kidnapping under the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of POCSO and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, reported the HT.

Amid this chaos, one of the first cases under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion Ordinance was heard before the Allahabad High Court which directed that no coercive action will be taken against the alleged accused, staying his arrest, as the FIR was registered on mere suspicions. The court also noted that the right to privacy, conscience and choice is indispensable. (Nadeem Khan v State of UP and ors CMWP No. 16302 of 2020)

Related:

Allahabad HC protects man booked under UP ’love jihad’ law

CJP moves SC against “Love Jihad” laws

UP: ‘Love Jihad’ law catches pace, 2 cases registered in Bareilly