Advancing To Medieval Barbarism
The northern Indian Province of Uttar Pradesh has possibly set an example on enactment of a horrible Law and usage of the same in a horrible fashion! The Cabinet of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recently cleared the Law to combat forceful inter-faith conversions, or the so-called Love Jihad, in the Provincial Assembly. The Provincial Government prepared the Law on the basis of a report submitted to Chief Minister Adityanath by the local Law Commission a year ago, in which the Commission had expressed serious concern over the rising incidents of forced religious conversions (by marriage), or conversions through fraudulent ways, or Interfaith Love Affairs. As the Law does not deserve legal scrutiny, the Police have started rounding up grooms based on rumours of Love Jihad, apart from harassing Hindu-Muslim couples!
So far, many cases have been registered under this Act in Uttar Pradesh, and the allegation is that the Law is being abused beyond its limits in most of those cases. The question naturally arises as to how it is possible to misuse a Law that is itself horrible, reactionary and monstrous in nature? The answer, perhaps, lies in the Constitution of India… This Act clearly ignores the basic principles of the Constitution. A Public Interest Litigation has already been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) of India to this effect, as the petitioner believes that an attempt has been made to find loopholes in the Constitution through this Act…
The Constitution of India allows every adult Indian to enjoy the right to choose a spouse as per her/his wish. The consent of the bride and groom is enough in this regard, and there is no need to consider other factors, like religion, caste, family approval, etc. The Constitution even allows voluntary conversion! As the Hindu Nationalists have failed to ignore the Constitution, in spite of making several attempts; people, like Yogi Adityanath, with ardent followers of his principles, are trying to find the loopholes of the Constitution in an attempt to encourage Barbaric Customs! As per the newly enacted Law, if someone is forcibly converted for marriage, it is punishable! It means that the Right to Religion is taking a toll on Civil Liberties. It is to be noted that all Interfaith Love Affairs are not related to Forced Conversion. It seems that the Act is made for the purpose of abuse…
Meanwhile, members of 18 Transgender and LGBTQ+ communities, along with several Muslim organisations, have launched protests against this Act, terming Love Jihad as a right-wing conspiracy theory that has been legitimised. In a joint statement, they mentioned: “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.” Experts, too, have advised the Government not to criminalise civil matters, like citizenship, marriage, conversion and divorce, which are related to the community.
Some other Indian provinces, where the Hindu Nationalists are in power, are all set to introduce this Act. Perhaps, these Provinces would also misuse the Act to harass interfaith couples in the coming days! The barbaric concept, called Love Jihad, is a proof that the people have to pay a terrible price, if the State chooses bigotry ultra-Nationalism over Secular Liberalism.
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