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‘Love Jihad’ not defined under existing laws, no case reported yet: Government in Parliament

NEW DELHI: The term “love jihad” is not defined under existing laws and no case has been reported by any central agency, the government told Parliament on Tuesday.

“The term ‘love jihad’ is not defined under the extant laws. No such case of ‘love jihad’ has been reported by any of the central agencies,” Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said in a reply to a written question.

Reddy quoted Article 25 of the Constitution and said it provided for the freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health.

The junior home minister was responding to questions on “love jihad cases in Kerala” by Congress leader from Kerala, Benny Behanan, who also asked whether any central agency had reported any case of love jihad in the state in the last two years.

Reddy, however, said two cases from Kerala involving “inter-faith marriage” had been investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). This is the first time the government has officially dismissed the existence of “love jihad.”

Rightwing groups have dubbed relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women as “love jihad” and claimed that this phenomenon was a deliberate attempt to convert their women.

Interestingly, several suspected cases of elopement were investigated by various investigating agencies in Kerala and tagged as “love jihad,” the most famous being the Hadiya case in 2018.

The Supreme Court had to step in and declare Kerala woman Hadiya, 25, free to live with her husband after the High Court cancelled her marriage to a Muslim man on the request of her father.

Last month, an influential Catholic Church Synod of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala propagated that “Love Jihad is a reality” and alleged that scores of Christian women were being lured by the terror outfit ISIS and used in terror activities.

Following the Church’s remarks, the National Commission for Minorities demanded an NIA probe and had asked the state police to file a detailed report on the allegation.