Bengaluru: NIA has submitted chargesheet against Deepthi Marla, alias Maryam, the granddaughter-in-law of former Congress MLA Late Idinabba from Dakshina Kannada district for allegedly running a terrorist network in State and recruiting gullible Muslim youths to terrorist outfit ISIS.
In another case, the blackmailing and rape of a 13-year-old minor girl has taken a ‘love jihad’ turn in Mandya district. Apparently, the 25-year-old accused after raping, tortured the victim to embrace Islam and marry him.
In yet another incident, Apoorva Puranik, who embraced Islam after marrying Mohammad Ejaj Shiroor in Hubballi was stabbed 20 times for seeking a divorce. She found that Ejaj was already married with two children. Investigations revealed that Ejaj, an auto driver, allegedly trapped the victim, a MBA graduate, took her private videos, blackmailed and coaxed her into marriage. The incident was reported in March in Hubballi.
All these incidents and more shook the entire state and made national news. Today, ‘love jihad’ has become a common phrase in Karnataka. Hindu outfits have made an open declaration that their squads are in place to monitor the situation and protect “gullible” Hindu girls.
Sri Rajashekarananda Swamiji of Vajradehi Mutt in Mangaluru has announced formation of the ‘Hindu Task Force’ to prevent alleged cases of ‘love jihad’ and to protect Hindu identity in the coastal region of the state.
Sri Rama Sena, a Hindu outfit claims to be running vigilance squads at the ground level to protect Hindu girls from the clutches of alleged organised attempts to change the demography of India through ‘love jihad’.
Experts, however, warn against the tendency of becoming a prey to the larger game in the situation. Basavaraj Sulibhavi, thinker, political analyst and litterateur state that religious fanaticism is being thrusted into mindsets of individuals at the present age.
“The system is a culprit here. It is the first culprit indeed. It is being done from both sides. Fundamentalism, practiced by both majority and minority, is forming mindsets of individuals,” Sulibhavi said.
He continued, “As a result of this development, individuals become prey to such fundamentalism. There is of course politics. It cannot be stated that a particular religion or a set of individuals alone are responsible. The growth of minority fundamentalism is largely due to fundamentalism by majority. We have to move forward keeping all these factors in mind.”
Sulibhavi concluded by noting, “There is an incident of Hindu activist stuffing a body in a suitcase. All these cases should be seen at an individual level. There is an attempt to pin it on to a religion. There is systematic fundamental politics. Whenever there is an incident, there is an attempt to blame and use an individual’s religion.”
But, Pramod Muthalik, founder of Sri Rama Sena underlines that, Hindu girls are systematically trapped. The forces are trying to trap Hindu girls into ‘love jihad’ by using various available apps and digital means. It has been continuously done.
“I coined the word ‘love jihad’ in 2008 and also published first book on it. The picture of a half Hindu and a half Muslim woman, symbolises forceful conversions to Islam. We have been carrying the struggle in this regard for many years,” Muthalik said.
He added, “Everyone, including the BJP, ridiculed me when I first raised my voice against ‘love jihad’. They used to chide that since I am not married, I am obsessed with ‘love jihad’. I was insulted, opposed and resisted by Hindus. But, I continued my work and cases came to light.”
Muthalik cited the instance of a 19-year-old Hindu girl in Savanur town of Haveri district who was “just taken” by a 65-year-old Nippani Babu. She went missing for three months. He said, “I took the initiative to lodge a strong protest with the SP. After I talked tough with him, the girl was tracked in 24 hours. The girl was given back to her family and the accused was jailed.”
Accusing Muslims men of “trapping” Hindu women, he added, “I have handled many such cases. ‘love jihad’ is very much present. Like how gun training, gym training and sports training is imparted systematically, Muslim youths are trained to trap Hindu girls by impressing upon them. The systematic training is done in Kerala.”
Muthalik continued, “The forces not only give training to youth, they provide bikes, cash and fashionable attires. This is how a Hindu girl pursuing MBA, engineering and post -graduation are falling for mechanics, masons and auto drivers. The trained young men dedicate themselves to the task of trapping Hindu women.
“This endeavour is being supported by the community and the family. This is a part of increasing the population of minority communities.”
Trapping Hindu girls, women for religious conversion is one thing. The forces have gone ahead of using them to carry out jihad, continued Muthalik.
“Hindu girls are used as live bombers. Famous bakery owner’s daughter in Hubballi went missing after eloping with someone. Their house was located in a Muslim area. After 15 years her photo appeared in the list of wanted persons in connection with the Coimbatore blast case in 1999. She was listed as one among the 10 wanted persons.
“This is an evidence to how Hindu girls are used for terrorism. There are many cases. BHindu girls are sent to Syria after kidnapping and trapping them in ‘love jihad’.”
“In the case of Deepthi Marla, a Hindu girl who is arrested for allegedly recruiting gullible Muslim youth to IS had 14 bank accounts in her name. There is enough proof.”
He added that thank to anti-conversation laws, “more than 3,000 Hindu girls, who were victims of ‘love jihad’ have been brought back into the fold of Hinduism”. He concluded by pointing out: “Though they faced threats in the initial days, we supported them and ensured their safety.”
Responding to the many charges, Basavaraj Sulibhavi said ‘love jihad’ that in Indian context, the narrative takes different definitions in different context in the political backdrop.
“There is a political motive behind these narratives. Fundamentally, the citizens of this country, to whichever religion they belong to, once they attain majority, they can marry the person of their choice,” Sulibhavi said.
“The citizens have got the constitutional right to marry persons of their choice. Today, attempts are being made to take away this constitutional right. The casteist and traditional mindsets provoke religious feelings to divide people in the name of religion,” Sulibhavi added.
But even he conceded that once a marriage takes place, no man has the right to force his religion on his partner. Individuals can pursue their religion and practices. There are many examples. “It is dubbed as ‘love jihad when a Hindu girl is married to a Muslim man and if a Muslim girl marries a Hindu boy, it becomes a love marriage. One has to observe there is politics behind this duality,” Sulibhavi said.
“This narrative is supported by the system and organised politics is being carried out. After marriage if a partner wants his spouse to follow his religion and practice is wickedness. She or he can practice religion of her or his choice before and after marriage,” he added.
By M.K. Ashoka