The issue of “love jihad” was raised during a meeting between Rekha Sharma, the head of the National Commission for Women and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari today in the context of the recent dispute over a Tanishq advertisement . The Commission said Sharma highlighted the “rise” in cases of “jihad in love” in the state, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.
“Madam President raised the issue of the increase in cases of amorous jihad in Maharashtra. She highlighted a distinction between consensual interfaith marriages and amorous jihad and stated that the latter needed attention,” said the Commission in a statement, PTI reported.
Later in the day, the Commission tweeted: “Our President @sharmarekha met Bhagat Singh Koshyari, His Excellency, Governor of Maharashtra and discussed issues related to #women’s security in the State, including One-stop shops, abuse and rape of female patients at # COVID centers and increase in cases of jihad in love ”.
“Love jihad” is the term used by right-wing groups to target relations between Muslim men and Hindu women, which they say is an elaborate ruse to forcibly convert women.
In February, the government told parliament that the term was not defined in existing laws and that no cases had been reported by a central agency – officially distancing itself from the term used by right-wing groups in several cases of interfaith marriages.
The best known of these cases is that of Hadiya, a woman from Kerala whose marriage to a Muslim was confirmed by the Supreme Court in March 2018 after a series of twists and turns.
Quoting Article 25 of the Constitution, G Kishan Reddy, then Minister of State for the Interior of the Union, said he granted the freedom to profess, practice and propagate a religion subject to the public order, morality and health.
“The term ‘Love Jihad’ is not defined in existing laws. No case of ‘Love Jihad’ has been reported by any of the central agencies,” the minister said in a response to a question written in the Lok. Sabha.
Despite this, popular jewelry brand Tanishq had to pull an ad last week amid allegations of promoting “love jihad” and intense calls for trolling and boycotting on social media.
The ad, featuring an interfaith baby shower, received support from a few who rejected the hate messages.