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‘Love Jihad’: Outrage as Indian court issues tough guidelines on religious conversions, inter-faith marriages

By Ahmad Adil, New Delhi on 17/12/2017

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Rights groups on Saturday expressed outrage over an Indian court order which has issued tough guidelines on religious conversions and inter-faith marriages.

The Rajasthan High Court on Friday, while hearing a case regarding conversion of a Hindu woman to Islam, issued 10 guidelines “to check the problem of forcible conversion of religion”.

According to the new guidelines, anyone who wishes to change his/her religion in Rajasthan state will have to inform district authorities who will place a public declaration on a notice board and inform the families involved.

Any marriage ceremony will be solemnised a week after this declaration.

The order came as Hindu right-wing groups allege that cases of ‘love Jihad’ are increasing in the Hindu-majority country – a term they have coined to accuse Muslim men of luring non-Muslim women to Islam by feigning love.

“These directives are disgusting,” Kavita Srivastava, president of the Rajasthan chapter of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) told Anadolu Agency.

“I believe this [order] takes away the individual freedom to decide which faith you want to belong to,” she said, adding that they will challenge it in the country’s top court.

Another activist Brinda Adige told Anadolu Agency: “Religion is not public domain, it is a private affair. Placing these guidelines on adults is entering the privacy of their homes and targeting their personal space.”

Zakia Soman, founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (Indian Muslim Women Movement), said the constitution guarantees religious freedom.

“There is no bar on citizen marriage and everyone has the freedom to marry irrespective of faith. Such directives are not a good sign for democracy. It further divides the society,” she said.

Local media reported that the guidelines came during the hearing of a case where a Hindu girl’s family alleged their daughter had converted to Islam under duress.

Incidents of violence against Muslims in the name of ‘love Jihad’ are rising in the country currently being ruled by right-wing Bharitya Janata Party (BJP).

Earlier this month, police in New Delhi arrested a key individual accused in the murder of a Muslim man.

In a grisly video of the murder posted on social media, the accused set a Muslim man on fire for an alleged affair with his former lover, a Hindu woman.

In the video, he warns others involved in ‘love Jihad’ of a similar fate.

India’s top court is currently hearing the case of a medical student Hadiya who converted to Islam and married a Muslim man. The high court had earlier annulled her marriage.

•Sourced from Anadolu Agency.

Source News Express

Posted 17/12/2017 09:14:31 AM


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