Bandied by right wing Hindu groups as the epitome, of ‘Love Jihad,’ the love story of a Muslim boy Kaleem and a Hindu girl in a Meerut village has petered out after the Allahabad High Court directed the police to ensure that the girl be provided adequate security to ensure that they were able to live together unencumbered.
“We have sent the girl from the government custody — where she was staying since she ran away from her father’s place alleging threat to her life — to Kaleem’s house,” said Meerut District Probation Officer Pushpendra Singh. The official formalities were completed on Saturday and the two moved into a house in Meerut.
Kaleem, a resident of Uldhan village in Meerut, was arrested last year on charges of raping his partner (who’s not been named) after her father Narendar Tyagi allegedly pressured her to file a case of rape and forced religious conversion.
The girl was a Hindu, who are the dominant community in from Kharkhauda village. Kaleem had arranged for a job of English teacher for his girlfriend in the local madrasa. Hours after the case was filed and the news carried prominently by the vernacular Hindi press, it put western Uttar Pradesh on the boil.
The Sangh Parivar and the affiliated groups took up the love story of the girl and Kaleem as a textbook example of “love jihad.” But the case took a turn three months later, in October last year, when Narendar Tyagi’s daughter, 22, went to the police alleging that the case was fabricated and that she had been forced to lodge false charges against Kaleem, with whom she said she was in love.
She went on to tell the police that she had gone with Kaleem of her own accord and filed a case against her parents. When approached, Kaleem told the Hindu that the “love jihad” controversy took a toll on his life and that of the girl.
“I do not know what my fault is. We just fell in love. We are adults and we had the right and we still do have, to decide what to do with our lives,” he said.
The concept of ‘love jihad’ first rose to national attention in India in 2009, with claims of widespread conversions in Kerala and Mangalore, but claims have subsequently spread throughout the nation. The controversy resurfaced when in late 2014 BJP MP Yogi Adityanath alleged that love jihad was an “international conspiracy targeting India and that Muslim youth targeting Hindu girls was very common in UP. Hindu groups reportedly cautioned women in UP against befriending Muslim youths.