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Arrest of Karnataka girl over ISIS links sparks debate on Love Jihad

IANS | January 09, 2022 12:27 PM

BENGALURU: Ever since the arrest of Deepthi Marla a.k.a Mariyum on charges of alleged links with the ISIS by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) earlier this week in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, it has sparked off a debate on "Love Jihad" in the state.

Hindu organisations have planned special campaigns and programmes in coastal Karnataka through retired police officers, religious leaders and advocates among others in educational institutions and other places to create awareness about Love Jihad. They claim that Love Jihad is a reality and every day they are getting calls from the parents of girls who have disappeared.

They explain that groups are formed to prevent Hindu girls from falling prey to Love Jihad and students are trained to observe closely in academic institutions for suspicious movements on the campus.

The leaders of the ruling BJP which has already got the Anti-Conversion Bill passed in the Assembly are openly stating that they would also bring legislation on Love Jihad. However, state Congress President D.K. Shivakumar has rubbished it saying that all legislation brought by the Bharatiya Janata Party targeting minorities would be thrown into the dustbin after his party comes to power.

Deepthi Marla, a Hindu girl from Kodagu who married Anas Abdul Rahman after falling in love with him while studying BDS, has converted to Islam and changed her name to Mariyum. Anas is the grandson of late Congress three-time MLA B.M. Idinabba.

Later, she is alleged to have come in contact with the ISIS terrorist outfit. She is also alleged to have recruited local youths for the ISIS.

The incident has shocked the people of the state especially in the communally sensitive coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada. Hindutva forces who have been protesting against Love Jihad are claiming that Deepthi Marla's case is an example of Love Jihad and it shows how Hindu girls are trapped in love, married, converted to Islam and then used against the Hindu community and nation.

Progressive thinkers dub it as a mere Hindutva agenda and allege that the National Investigation Agency has been getting instructions from Nagpur (RSS Headquarters) to carry out the Hindutva agenda and target the minorities.

Senior Counsel S. Balan, explained to IANS: "Love Jihad is a phrase coined by right wing elements after instructions from Nagpur and that venom is spewed all over India including the security forces, police forces, NIA, everywhere. They have also coined it like another phrase �Urban naxals.' It is a bogus word created by right wing elements."

"Love Jihad per se is punishable under section 153 A of the IPC for creating a rift between two communities. It is per se an offence under section 295 of IPC. This is a language to question the integrity, sovereignty and security of the state. It challenges the basic structure of the constitution. How is Love Jihad defined? A woman and man can love, marry it is their right, who has got any right to declare that it is Love Jihad?" he questioned.

"The NIA is a �National Inhuman Agency', gets instructions from Nagpur. It is the most communal minded organization and they are bent upon implicating anyone. I am seeing certain cases also. It is a predictive policing algorithm. The moment something happens, the victim is predicted, the culprit is predicted, the ideology is predicted, the organization is predicted, the moment Love Jihad is mentioned, it is predicted that the offenders are Muslims. The victims are Hindus. Many religions preach violence. Even the Hindu religion, if you take the Mahabharata and the Ramayan, it is a war. Like that every religion is violent. Christianity is violent, Judaism is violent, Parsi religion is violent. How and why do you brand one person?" he asked.

Pramod Muthalik, the Founder of Sri Ram Sena, explained to IANS that the term �Love Jihad' was coined by him in 2009. "I have written my first book on the subject. In the period of 15 to 20 years as many as 3, 000 Hindu girls who have gone away with Muslims have been traced and brought back. They were married back to Hindus. This is happening. Now, the issue is being discussed all over the country. Many states have brought legislation in this regard. The matter has also reached the Supreme Court."

"Kerala is a big centre of Love Jihad. Before four years, 4, 000 girls are targeted for Love Jihad, government documents say that among these 3, 000 are Christian girls. Love Jihad is a reality. This is done to increase population and misuse Hindu girls and women. They get married and leave them after having children. They would be pushed into brothels and sold in Arab nations. They will also use them for terrorist activities, " he claimed.

"Our activists have struggled a lot to bring back victim Hindu girls. They have managed to bring out Hindu girls who were kept in Mosques. The activists have faced assaults and gone to jail. Till date, we get five to six phone calls every day from people about their daughter absconding. This is happening. We have formed squads in all the colleges and they keep a vigil, " Muthalik stated.

Afsar Kodlipet, State Secretary of the Social Democratic Party of India, said that the concept of Love Jihad is a castle built in the air and a conspiracy by the Sangh Parivar elements to target minorities.

"In 2009, NIA came to Karnataka to investigate the alleged rape, murder of 37 women. It was alleged that Hindu women were used sexually and converted forcefully to another religion as part of Love Jihad. After a detailed investigation the NIA uncovered the role of Cyanide Mohan, a psycho serial killer, behind the death of 27 women. He targeted Dalit women and girls and after exploiting them, fearing exposure he killed them. Later, it came to light that there is no Love Jihad in all the cases, " he said.

"The issue was raised in Parliament in 2009-10. The then government at the Centre gave a written answer that there is not a single case of Love Jihad in the country. In Karnataka BJP MLC Ravikumar raised the issue in the Legislative Council when B.S. Yediyurappa was the Chief Minister. Then Social Welfare Minister Govind Karajol explained in the House that there is not a single case of forceful conversion in connection with Love Jihad allegations, " he stated.

T.S. Chandrashekar, international affairs analyst and BJP TV panellist, maintained that Love Jihad is a reality. "In Kerala, the fundamentalist elements will gather inputs on girls who are single daughters and rich. They think if they trap these girls, they would also get resources. Uneducated, poor girls are not targeted. Only, working, educated women are being trapped in love and later brainwashed."

Sharan Pumpwell, Zonal Secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Dakshina Kannada, claimed that since 15 years the cases of Love Jihad are increasing. Every day such cases are reported in the coastal Karnataka region. Hindu girls are brainwashed and even become victims of sex jihad. In Kerala, they are targeting Catholic Christian girls.

"We are launching a campaign on January 17. Seminars are being conducted in colleges and religious leaders, caste leaders, retired police officers, advocates are involved in the campaign to create awareness among people about Love Jihad, " he stated.

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