Hindu and Muslim families give consent for marriage, but BJP leaders protest calling it ‘love jihad
Man and woman are adults, parents too have agreed

In a bizarre incident in Mandya town, a group of 20 people including a BJP member, went to a Hindu man’s house and lectured him about ‘love jihad’ as his daughter was getting ready to marry a Muslim man.

Ashita and Shakeel, both MBA graduates, were in love for the last 12 years and their parents, have also been friends for several years now.

Mandya town (east) Inspector Byataraya Gowda told The News Minute that the couple were already engaged with their parent’s consent, and were to be married on April 17 at a hotel in Mysuru.

On Tuesday, however, a group of around 20 people staged a protest in front of Ashita’s house and also spoke to her father about ‘love jihad’, which they claimed was occurring in a rampant and systematic manner in the district.

“Over 15 people went there in the morning assuming the family was under some pressure. They told them about love jihad and its implications on the Vokkaliga community. However, once they were told that the marriage was taking place with the consent of both families, they left,” said Gowda.

Ashitha said, “It’s my personal matter and others have no right to interfere when our families have given their consent… Even if I marry a Hindu guy, I have to practise the traditions of his family. I’m in love with him and I’m getting happily married with the consent of our parents.”

Manjunath, a BJP member and former convener of the state unit of the Bajrang Dal, was among the 15 Hindu activists, and told The News Minute the girl’s father Narendra Babu was the younger brother of his close friend, an RSS worker.

However he maintained that he and others went to meet Babu as “distant relatives” and “well-wishers”.

Asked what objection they had to the wedding when both the man and woman were of legal age, he said: “We don’t have a problem. But if this is real love, let the man convert to Hinduism. Such a marriage will have a bad effect on Vokkaliga society.”

Asked to explain how, he said: “On the streets Muslim men say they married a Gowda girl and taunt us saying ‘But what could the Gowdas do?’ If someone says something like that about my community, will I sit quiet?”

He claimed that ‘love jihad’ was a “rampant” problem in the state and that Hindu girls who got married to Muslim men faced terrible lives and suffered mental agony.

“Just go to NIMHANS and see for yourself. Almost 70% of the women who are admitted in NIMHANS for mental illness are victims of love jihad. We want to avoid such a thing from happening,” he claimed.

Following the claims of love jihad made by the Bajrang Dal and other Hindutva organizations in northern Kerala and coastal Karnataka in the mid-2000s, the Kerala High Court ordered an investigation in October 2009.

Around the same time, the Karnataka High Court too had ordered an investigation into claims of love jihad. The police of both states, which had submitted independent reports said to the respective high courts, they found no evidence of a racket in which Muslim men lured Hindu women into marriage in an attempt to convert them into Islam.

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