India ‘love jihad’: Muslim student arrested for allegedly trying to convert Hindu woman

The 21-year-old student was arrested in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, just days after the state passed a law on “love jihad” – a term used by radical Hindu groups accusing Muslim men of discriminating against women of other religions. they are trying to convert. Islamic.

Uttar Pradesh passed an anti-conversion law that on Saturday considers forced or fraudulent religious conversion to be a non-punishable crime with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

By law, a marriage is declared “null and void” if the woman’s conversion is for that purpose only. Those wishing to change their religion after marriage should contact the highest district authorities.

The same day the law came into force, a man named Tikaram Rathone filed a complaint with police, alleging that the male student was trying to force his 20-year-old Hindu daughter, who is married, to convert to Islam and marry her.

Rathore claimed the man had befriended his daughter at school and “wanted to force, dazzle and seduce her.”

“Despite constant disapproval from me and my family, he (the accused) is putting pressure on us with abuses and death threats,” Rathore said in his complaint.

Police in the Bareilly district of Uttar Pradesh have confirmed via Facebook that the man was arrested on Wednesday.

Critics have called the law Islamophobic, unconstitutional, and regressive. Many are concerned that this will lead to abuse and harassment and that the law will make it increasingly difficult for interfaith couples to marry in the country.

Other states – including Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka and Assam – have announced following Uttar Pradesh and introducing similar laws.

All five states are governed by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has faced accusations of maintaining anti-Muslim sentiment.

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The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was previously fired over by similar laws. Last year, the state of Himachal Pradesh, ruled by the BJP, changed its anti-conversion law, prohibiting conversion by deception, violence, fraud, undue influence, coercion, seduction, or marriage. He was not free to introduce imprisonment for the crime.

Critics of the BJP say religious polarization has increased since Modi came to power in 2014. Hindu-Muslim marriages in India have long been the subject of debate – but tensions have risen recently, with the notion of “love jihad” dominating in recent months.

In October, the popular jewelry brand, Tanishq, published an ad for an interfaith couple – a Hindu woman and a Muslim man. After accusing right-wing Indians of promoting “love jihad” and trolling them vigorously on the Internet, the company called the ad, saying it feared the “welfare” of its employees.

In November, authorities accused Netflix of the same after a scene in his TV series “A Suitable Boy” in which a Hindu woman and a Muslim man share a kiss in front of a Hindu temple. Narottam Mishra, a member of the BJP and Interior Minister of Madhya Pradesh, said the scene offended “religious sentiments” and instructed officials to investigate legal action against the producer and director of the series.