Protest against proposed ‘Love Jihad’ law
A joint statement by 18 organisations said the term is a right-wing conspiracy theory
A protest by civil society groups on Tuesday against the proposed ‘Love Jihad’ law turned out to be a celebration of love and personal freedom. Members of the transgender and LGBTQ+ community also took part in the protest, along with several Muslim organisations.
A joint statement issued by 18 organisations termed ‘Love Jihad’ as a right-wing conspiracy theory, which was being legitimised. “We believe that every person has the right to choose their own partner, free from State interference. The government’s attempt to control these choices is in pursuit of a communal agenda, and is unacceptable to the fraternal makeup of our democracy. Moreover, matters of faith and belief concern the rights of citizens, and cannot be policed by the State,” the statement said.
K.S. Vimala of Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane decried the proposed law and the recent ordinance promulgated in Uttar Pradesh as not only communal but also patriarchal. “It robs the woman of her right to choose her partner and religion. It seeks to police women and is hence extremely regressive,” she said.
“The very use of the term ‘jihad’ imputes guilt on the part of one religious community. These laws will also lead to further incarceration of members of the Muslim community. We believe that these laws will be used as a tool to further the Hindutva agenda and criminalisation of Muslims,” the statement read.
Noted civil rights activist Tanveer Ahmed said, increasingly, civil matters like citizenship, marriage, conversion and divorce, related to the community were being criminalised. “We have had the experience facing several such onslaughts before, and we bear it and face it today. But more than the community, we are pained at how the incumbent regime is eating away the Constitution like termites. Once that is done, anyone will be fair game,” he said.