Love Jihad may not have been a part of the BJP's offiicial agenda but it seems that the issue will play a big part in the upcoming byelections in Uttar Pradesh when eleven assembly and Mainpuri Lok Sabha seats will go to the polls on September 13.
Yesterday, the party appointed UP BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai, Union minister Kalraj Mishra and Aditynath to lead the campaign for the bypoll in the state.
The controversial Hindutva face of BJP in UP who is also an MP from Gorakhpur said, "The issue of 'love jihad' would certainly be an issue in this bypoll".
"I have been raising this issue for the past four to five years. The menace first began in Kerala and has now spread to Western UP, " he said, adding that the worst part is that the ruling Samajwadi party has been turning a blind eye to it.
Yogi is known for leading campaigns against illegal cow slaughter, illegal infiltration by Bangladesh immigrants and forced conversion.
The saffron party's two-day convention in Vrindavan remained mired in controversy over the issue of 'love-jihad' — allegation that Muslim youths lure Hindu girls into relationship for conversion, but the BJP has avoided making it a part of official agenda.
Yogi said that it was however a part of the overall problem of law and order that had been discussed over the two days.
Look who’s leading the campaign against ‘Love Jihad’!
>> 'Love jihad' is a useful way of giving this slander legs because it doesn't need evidence or categorical proof to do its work
And terming it slander is a cheap way to worm out of countering the available evidence, like I presented about the Kerala conversion figures presented by the sicko CM in the assembly.
The BJP and Hindu-Muslim Romance
By Mukul Kesavan
'Love jihad' is a useful way of giving this slander legs because it doesn't need evidence or categorical proof to do its work. Any anecdote about a romance, an elopement or a marriage between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man is grist to this mill because according to the Sangh Parivar, such relationships, by definition, cannot be entered into in good faith on both sides: the Muslim man is always the thin end of a sinister wedge, a fifth columnist bent on subverting the solidarity of the Hindu nation from within. Should a Hindu girl inconveniently deny coercion or rape or conversion or abduction, as a girl in Muzaffarnagar did just last week, forcing the police to release her blameless boyfriend, Pervez, there's always another story about a predatory Muslim aashiq to move on to.
The notion of 'love jihad' is a classic example of a majoritarian party trying to tap into a sense of passive-aggressive injury. In the Indian context this consists of riffing on several related themes: we-are-peaceful-but-they-are-predatory, we-don't-convert-but-they-steal-our-daughters, if-this-goes-on-we'll-be-a-minority-soon.
Adityanath’s party? (IE editorial)
A BJP MP from Gorakhpur, member of the party’s national executive who has officially been handed charge of its campaign for the UP assembly bypolls, has been issued a notice by the Election Commission of India for allegedly delivering an inflammatory speech and invoking religion to garner votes. The EC has found prima facie violation of the model code of conduct and asked him to explain why action should not be taken against him. An MLA in Madhya Pradesh, who is also the state BJP vice president, has asked party workers to ensure that Muslim youth are not allowed to enter garba venues in her constituency during the upcoming Navdurga festival, alleging that Hindu girls are lured and converted to Islam as part of a “love jihad” conspiracy. Yogi Adityanath and Usha Thakur speak the language of what is often called the BJP’s “fringe” — but they don’t really fit that description. While the former is central to the BJP’s campaign for UP, the latter is an important party office-bearer, apart from being an elected representative. Both could be rightfully expected to be circumscribed by the slogan put forward by their party to win the Centre — “sabka saath, sabka vikas”. Neither would be unaware of the 10-year moratorium pledged by their prime minister on caste and communal strife on Independence Day from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
So who is in charge in the BJP? And why is no action being taken against those like Adityanath and Thakur who are openly stoking communal tensions on the ground, especially in poll-bound states, in flagrant defiance of the forward-looking and development-oriented image courted by the Modi-led BJP at the Centre? Or is the party playing true to its own worst stereotype — of always speaking in two voices, carefully choreographing the interplay between them and their alternation?
Hinduism losing its benign face… no one at top stepping in.
Fali S Nariman
Hinduism has traditionally been the most tolerant of all Indian faiths. But — recurrent instances of religious tension fanned by fanaticism and hate speech has shown that the Hindu tradition of tolerance is showing signs of strain. And let me say this frankly — my apprehension is that Hinduism is somehow changing its benign face because, and only because it is believed and proudly proclaimed by a few (and not contradicted by those at the top): that it is because of their faith and belief that HINDUS have been now put in the driving seat of governance.
We have been hearing on television and reading in newspapers almost on a daily basis a tirade by one or more individuals or groups against one or another section of citizens who belong to a religious minority and the criticism has been that the majority government at the Centre has done nothing to stop this tirade. I agree.
BJP MP Yogi Adityanath has delivered a series of speeches at election meetings in the recent past, for which the Election Commission reprimanded and cautioned him on Thursday, and ordered that an FIR be registered against him. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has described India as a “Hindu nation”, and several political leaders linked to the Sangh Parivar have made allegedly provocative statements since the Narendra Modi government came to power.
Nariman criticised the NCM for not carrying out its “main task”, the “protection of the interests of the minorities.