No ‘Love Jihad’ term in law, no case from Kerala: Home Ministry said in Parliament

The ‘Love Jihad’ term was sensationalised and popularised by a section of the media, which in turn came in handy for right-wing outfits to target Muslims.

New Delhi| Possibly, in an attempt to clear the air on the ‘Love Jihad’ bugbear being propagated by several right-wing groups and others, Kerala MP Behanan Benny raised a question to the Home Ministry during the Parliamentary session in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

“Whether the government is aware of the observation of Kerala High Court that there is no case of love jihad in Kerala? If yes, whether any of the central agencies have reported any case of Love Jihad from Kerala during the last two years, and if so, the details thereof?”, he asked.

The Home Ministry told Parliament on Tuesday that No case of ‘Love Jihad’ has been reported from Kerala by any central agencies. In fact, “the term ‘love jihad’ has not been defined under the extant laws”, Minister of State in the home ministry G. Kishan Reddy informed in Parliament.

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However, two cases from Kerala involving inter-faith marriages have been investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Minister added.

“Article 25 of the Constitution provides for the freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health. Various courts have upheld this view, including the Kerala High Court,” said Reddy said.

In the past couple of years, many parents of Hindu women, who are married to Muslim men in Kerala, and right-wing organisations have raised the ‘love jihad’ fuss. Two cases, in particular, became national headlines and one even reached the Supreme Court.

The Syro Malabar Catholic Church remarked that ‘love jihad’ was real and was being used to target Christian women. Kerala’s largest Christian denomination, the Syro-Malabar Church had expressed concerns over the issue and exhorted believers to be alert. It also said such practices were posing a serious threat to Kerala’s secular as it cited examples to prop its claim. The claims were later questioned within the church.

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the allegations of the Church have “no factual basis.” He said many such allegations had been levelled in the past, but government investigations had found no basis in it. “If there are concrete cases or allegations, they will definitely be looked into. But, the Kerala government does not believe that there is any basis for such generalisation,” he had said.

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