“When a Hindu girl marries into a Muslim family under Sharia law and changes her religion she effectively forgoes many of her rights such as equal rights of inheritance, rights to divorce alimony etc which she enjoyed under the Hindu code bill prior to leaving her faith” said Senior Editor of Swarajya Magazine Arihant Pawariya.
He was speaking on Sunday at a webinar ‘Love Jihad’: Meaning And An Effective Law’ organised by cultural organization Sarayu trust.
He explained how women are particularly vulnerable due to loss of their rights “In rural areas young Hindu girls marry into Muslim families under Sharia law, they have low levels of education and don’t have any economic security. They are often abandoned by their families for marrying a Muslim guy, and in case the marriage does not work out then they don’t have anywhere to go.”
Pawariya said that the term ‘love jihad’ is a very loose term and no legal authority in the country has categorically defined it.
The concept of love Jihad was first coined by Padres of Kerala churches, who accused Muslim youth of specifically targeting and alluring Christian girls in order to convert them. He said that these claims were investigated by Kerala Police authorities, however no evidence was found of such conversion activities being done in a planned and organised manner.
He made it clear that not all interfaith marrieges are love jihad “There have been instances of interfaith marriages when two consenting adults were getting married legally while activists on the Hindu or Christian side made allegations that this was love Jihad though in reality it was not.”
He said that the narrative in the English press regarding inter faith marriages is very lopsided
“What they would do is to cherry-pick some instances of Hindu girls marrying Muslim men from the elite classes and generalize that interfaith marriages are successful.”
He pointed out that a trend has been observed whereby Hindu girls are being allured and exploited by Muslim men
“A pattern is observed in interfaith marriages across the country where Muslim men pretend to be Hindus while approaching Hindu girls. They adopt Hindu symbols like Tilak or a kalava, assume fake identities on the social media even in some instances make fake Aadhar cards. There are cases where they have intimate moments with these girls record these to use as leverage to force this girls to flee homes and marry them. These instances are covered by the vernacular press but they get very less coverage in the English press.”