Love Jihad Lab: Isloate, Terrorise, Ghettoise Muslims

Love jihad was always a fringe phenomenon for hardline Hindutva. It was in the shadows. Since 2014, it has become mainstream, like mob-lynching. And in the current scenario, amazingly, it is becoming law.

The love jihad law, or the politics behind the law, is yet again brazenly transparent. The central theme and the hyperbolic pitch are to corner, isolate, ghettoise and terrorise the Muslim community, yet again, polarize the bitter ground reality across the caste system in the Hindi heartland and the cowbell derived from the basic principles of dominant Hindutva. It is also to divert public attention from basic issues on the ground: mass unemployment, economic collapse across the organized and unorganized sectors, the massive farmers’ struggle at the various borders of the national capital, and that there is no clear guarantee when the vaccine against the deadly virus will reach India effectively, even while it is being administered in millions across the UK and USA.

Besides, there is another favorite diversionary tactic of the BJP, which also consolidates its fringe and mainstream support base: First, it was the Ram Janmabhoomi temple complex in Ajodhya. Now, it is the mythical new Parliament complex of ‘New India’: you can call it the mythical Hindu rashtra, a work in progress under the patron saints positioned strategically in the RSS headquarters in Nagpur.

Despite the love jihad law being pushed in some BJP-ruled states, the laboratory is yet again Uttar Pradesh, which has brought in BJP overwhelming at the hustings with a radical Hindutva icon who celebrates authoritarian actions as a virtue, at the helm. UP is also the state which provides the largest number of Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha polls.

ALSO READ: ‘After Love Jihad, BJP Will Rake Up Uniform Code’

Of late, it has moved away from the ‘social engineering’ of the post-Mandal wave, with the rise of the OBCs and the minorities as a consolidated vote bank, and has decisively turned towards the heady concoction of united Hindutva. The repeated victory of Narendra Modi from a holy place like Varanasi, revered by Hindus across India, is more than symbolic.

Indeed, the caste polarization of the post-Mandal era, in UP, for instance, where Dalits would align with the Savarnas and the upper castes, but refuse to have alliances with the powerful section of the OBCs, like the Yadavs, is all but over. Landed Yadavs, also politically powerful, were always seen as oppressors in UP by the Dalits, even while Brahmins chose to align with the power apparatus, from the Congress, to BSP, to BJP.

Now, with a Thakur calling the shots, and calling it loud and clear across the layers of the power structure, a section of the Brahmins, deprived of power, seems to be in a dilemma. So are the others in the other backward castes.

In that sense, it is quite possible, that the Hindutva agenda is yet again working on its dream sequence by invoking the sectarian and vicious politics of love jihad. The dream sequence rests on the principle that all Hindus, across the caste spectrum, or most of them, would unite under the dominant and polarizing umbrella of Hindutva, whereas the ‘internal enemy number one’, as traditional RSS documents would tell us, should be totally isolated.

Thereby, it serves two purposes: one, the huge population of Muslims cannot forge an alliance with other secular groups among the Hindu communities, and thereby constitute a formidable electoral base. And, second, by uniting most Hindu communities under one umbrella, the so-called ‘internal enemy number one’ and its vote base is rendered vulnerable, almost ineffective.

In other words, this is but the first step towards the consolidation of a strategic Hindu rashtra, very much like using Adivasis against the minorities to polarize and consolidate in states lie Gujarat and Jharkhand, and thereby compel the Adivasis, who are outside the caste system of Hinduism, to join the Hindu varna vyavastha, with all its social, cultural and hegemonic trappings.

This new brand of ‘social engineering’ was first experimented by the BJP in Western UP before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. And what was the heady and hallucinatory slogan used to achieve this successful polarization: yes, love jihad.

The fertile and prosperous green revolution belt of Western UP with its flowing mustard flowers, canal systems, sprawling sugar cane farms, sugar mills, and flourishing mandis, as in Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut, has always been a laid back zone of communal harmony and peace, with landed farmers across the kaleidoscope of religion prospering in the region. The landless Dalits or the poor Muslims and extremely backward castes were surely not so rich, but they were not starving either, or migrating en masse, as from Eastern UP or parts of Bihar.

ALSO READ: ‘Love Jihad Law Kills Beti Bachao Spirit’

Indeed, Dalits even own land in rural areas near Saharanpur, and the emergence of the confident mass of educated, young, modern and confident Dalits in the form of the Bhim Army, led by Chandraskhekar Azad, is a clear pointer about the changing political and social dynamics in Western UP. 

The BJP never really had any base in this region, barring among the traders and shopkeepers, which was politically under the shadow of the late Chaudhury Charan Singh, and his sons, who were the leaders of the dominant Jat community, almost always in alliance with Muslim farmers and other communities. There were no communal fissures, and no animosity against the Muslims, even while sections of Dalits chose to vote for Mayawati’s BSP. This was compulsively and effectively shattered by the violent politics of love jihad by the BJP and its rabble rousers in Western UP in 2014.

Indeed, it was fake, mostly based on rumours, with no evidence on the ground. Muslim boys were not running away with Hindu girls. It was all stage-managed propaganda, propagated by mouth and social media like whatsapp, with fake identities and fake stories, backed by huge Mahapanchayats of the BJP where the Muslims were frontally attacked. The laid-back green expanse had suddenly turned bitter and vicious, and it was yet again hate politics which became the dominant narrative in this peaceful zone.

A lot of violence, bloodshed and dead bodies later, around 60,000-plus Muslims were displaced from their traditional habitats. They took shelter in refugee camps, in collective phobia. Many of them just could not understand what hit them. Later, journalists and fact-finding teams, including women’s groups, also found scores of Muslim women raped. It was terrible and heart-breaking.

Post-2014, the wounds seem to be healing, and the polarization has not sustained. Fake news has dismantled again and again. The politics of hate and violence, camouflaged under the propaganda of love jihad, seems to have subsided. The lost era of peaceful coexistence and harmony seemed to be gradually returning. And love jihad seems as much a figment of imagination, as the ‘acche din’ promised by Modi before 2014.

The united kisan movement in Western UP, post lockdown, has also played a major role in bridging the social fissures. The movement is growing stronger against the three central farm bills, and most factions of the Bharatiya Kisan Union has united in the struggle. Love jihad is not working here on the ground.

Indeed, in the three recent cases in UP, reportedly triggered by Bajrang Dal vigilantes, with the administration predictably following a set pattern, the love jihad propaganda has fallen flat. In contrast, love seems to have won over hate again, despite the angst, the suffering, and the violence, psychological and physical. Indeed, even parents have stood up for the idea of love, and have debunked the claim of love jihad.

Surely, India, and its cowbelt power apparatus, might find it a lucrative enterprise to float such divisive and discriminatory concepts, once seen in Europe when the Nazis came in with Jews targeted in all walks of life. However, the younger generations are not going to buy it anymore. Hopefully so.

Surely, they would want love, and an eternally happy life in togetherness. And they must get it. That will be a true victory of the purity and endurance of love, over the politics of hate.

‘After Love Jihad, BJP Will Rake Up Uniform Civil Code’

Fawaz Aftab, 21, a Law student from Delhi, says BJP leaders should focus on the worsening situation amid Covid-19, instead of targeting Muslims. Aftab prays for India to remain a pluralistic society

If you think ‘Love Jihad’ is the end of it – by which I mean the state meddling into citizens’ private affairs – it will not be. It is just the beginning. This year people have already seen so much hardships due to the pandemic yet our authorities are more focussed on issues related to a particular community, Muslims.

First, there was no proper dialogue before imposition of CAA- NRC, then northeast Delhi faced communal violence, later the communalisation of Covid-19 where the whole Tableegi Jamat issue was tarred, then the Ram Janma Bhoomi shilanyas (which could have been handled a little more gracefully), and now the Love Jihad law. A person who follows news in depth knows what will be their next stop: Uniform Civil Code.

Many people feel that now inter-faith relationships and marriages will raise untoward suspicion because of the new law. However, as a law student I feel that people shouldn’t give in to fear easily. The Special Marriage Act (1954) is still valid and people can still go for inter-faith marriages. The law has been brought in to curb forced conversions, be they done by a person of any religion. However, when the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath or other BJP leaders and even the media talk about it, they use the term ‘Love Jihad’ as if it is meant to put a complete stop to inter-faith relationships.

ALSO READ: ‘Love Jihad Kills Beti Bachao Spirit’

It is perhaps easier to distract people from mainstream issues by bringing issues of lesser importance to the surface. I wish the government initiated dialogues on topics it thinks deserve importance before bringing a law for it. And I also wish that the people didn’t react emotionally to any news that the media presents, and did some groundwork on their own.

Aftab would want India to remain a pluralistic society

One of the main problems I have with this law is the point that anyone wanting to convert into another religion would have to give it in writing to the District Magistrate at least two months in advance. I feel it is a direct violation of fundamental rights under Article 21. Love, marriage and practicing of one’s faith are personal matters and the government shouldn’t get involved in it I feel, at least in the beginning. If the marriages run into problems, then the government can take cognizance of the matter.

The term ‘ Love Jihad’ first started coming to light around 2009-10, but the UPA government took it for what it was, an exception. I feel the current government takes offence even where none is intended. Prior to 2014, Hindus and Muslims and people of all other faiths mostly identified as Indians first, but now I can see traces of hatred and an unwillingness to know about and understand different faiths.

ALSO READ: ‘When Will The Hounding Of Muslims Stop?’

I hope we still continue to hold on tightly to the idea of a pluralistic India and no matter how much the media or our politicians try to divide us, we don’t give in to hatred; we don’t do any such thing that allows hatred to become mainstream. In the long run we can only control how we behave and I on my part will keep contributing my love and understanding to my fellow countrymen and women.

‘CAA, Riots, Love Jihad… Where Will The Hounding Stop?’

Farheen Zaidi, 22, a student of Fine Arts in Delhi, says with millions of livelihoods at stake amid Covid-19, our leaders should redefine their priorities, and not constantly target one community

Where do I even begin? I don’t understand what is going on in our country for the past few years. First, the stalemate over Citizenship Amendment Act- and NRC, then the communal violence in Northeast Delhi and now a law against so called ‘love jihad’, which I do not even think, exists…

Where will this concerted and coordinated effort to target Muslims stop? Till a few years ago, the Hindu-Muslim rivalry was a one-off thing and people used to take extreme steps in the heat of the moment. But now it’s like this rivalry recurring periodically. There’s a constant undercurrent of hatred running in India these days.

Even the November 11 High Court order that UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Ji had cited to justify ‘love jihad’ law earlier, has now been overturned. The HC now says that it was ‘bad law’ and two consenting adults have the freedom to choose the way they want to conduct their lives. Love is a matter of the heart, how can it be governed by law?

I wonder if the people who talk about ‘love jihad’ even understand the meaning of love. It takes so much for people to be able to find another person who understands them well and how can they be judged by people who don’t even know them? If conversion has been done forcibly, be they of any religion, then the government can step in, but one can’t assume that people will behave a certain way and take pre-emptive measures.

ALSO READ: ‘Love Jihad Law Kills Beti Bachao Spirit’

Shouldn’t the government be worrying about and working upon handling the pandemic, or soon there will be no people left to fall in love with each other or marry. So many people have lost their jobs and livelihood because of the pandemic, and I feel the government should really give its priorities a rethink.

Farheen believes addressing loss of livelihoods amid Covid-19 must be a priority for leaders

This is not the time for people to feel hatred for each other. We all need each other to see ourselves through the coronavirus crisis. Our faiths should help us become better people and help each other and we need to fight coronavirus together. I sometimes feel sad about how we have changed as a country. When I was in school a few years ago, we had many friends from other faiths, but now just a few years later when I am still in college, our social circle has shrunk considerably. There is this whole ‘Hindu-Muslim’ talk going on always.

Sometimes I feel if the matter of ‘love jihad’ is so serious why doesn’t Modiji talk about it in his ‘Man Ki Baat’? He could give us examples when cases of people marrying someone just for the sake of converting them has come to light and talk about those cases from all angles. That could be the beginning of a serious dialogue on the topic, but in my life I have personally seen no such incident and feel it is a just a bogeyman of an issue.

ALSO READ: ‘Love And Jihad Don’t Go Hand In Hand’

And if the law is brought in, the poor of the poorest will suffer; the rich will take to legal recourse. I hope better sense prevails and more thought is given to social harmony. When people are secure in their own faiths and identities they don’t even try to convert people to their ideas, forget changing their religion.

Whatever decision Yogi Ji and his counterpart in Bihar, Nitish Kumar Ji take in this matter will have far reaching implications for the rest of the country. I am waiting to see what Nitish Ji has to say in this matter as the Chief Minister of a state where there is a large Muslim population.

Hanging (On Wall) Without Trial

The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh obviously likes to follow outdated medieval rules. It is obsessed with a kind of revenge politics seldom seen in the Hindi heartland; a government choosing to repeatedly unleash daily vengeance, suffering, punishment and humiliation against its own people, especially peaceful dissenters against the CAA/NRC/NPR, especially against those with Muslim names.

Wanted dead or alive, as in rugged posters or sarkari notices pasted on public walls. Non-violent protestors are given the same treatment as terrorists, hardened criminals, history-sheeters and absconders under the current regime.

Blame, name and shame. Brand them as criminals for the entire world to see. Condemn and degrade them as a public spectacle. Advertise their homes and addresses. Demonise and socially isolate them. Make them vulnerable to abuses and attacks. Even, physical attacks. Teach them a lesson of their lives.

ALSO READ: HC Tells Yogi To Remove Name-Shame Hoardings

Even if there is no evidence; not even worth an iota of factual objectivity. Even if in case after case the UP government’s negative and prejudiced campaign has collapsed. Even if the cases are sub-judice, with observations in the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court, and, mind you, strong observations, as made by the state high court.

Like a man with a drum beating his way through the rural hinterland and in market places in medieval times pronouncing punishment for miscellaneous individuals accused of crime by the monarchy or local, oppressive feudal chieftains. Or, as in Iran, or, as by the Taliban and fundamentalist Islamists in South Waziristan etc – hang them on a public square, or stone them to death in a football stadium, as a public spectacle, so that the entire populace in subjugation can see their own image in the faces of the condemned in case they don’t follow the dominant, hegemonic line.

The ‘name and shame’ hoardings against the protestors were put up in a public space in Lucknow by the administration and police led by Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of UP, who wears saffron as a sign of his inherited saintliness. However, this self-mage has no saintly aversion to the shadowy zones of worldliness and its negative characteristics, such as hate, power, and violent and bad language. He truly and symbolically marks the end of the State as a secular entity.

So what did the Allahabad High Court state in response to a petition questioning this public degradation and humiliation of ordinary people and respectable citizens of Lucknow, including prominent civil society and social activits, like Sadaf Jafar? What is the significance of this extra-judicial trail?

Indeed, Sadaf was simply clicking pictures, making a video perhaps, while warning the police to look for violent rioters during the early phase of protests in Lucknow, which followed a pattern elsewhere. This method in the madness, or the pattern of violence and blood on the streets, were mainly followed only in BJP-ruled states. It reached its apocalyptic finale in Northeast Delhi soon after, with the cops looking elsewhere, or, becoming, yet again, a partisan accomplice to the violence unleashed on the minority community.

WATCH: ‘Left Only With Clothes I Am Wearing’

Clearly, the riots were engineered in Delhi, to create Hindu-Muslim communal polarisation. And, surely, it was also a pogrom, with property, homes and shops of Muslims targeted and ravaged – along with their organised killings.

More than 20 people were killed, including, reportedly, bystanders and innocent people who had nothing to do with the protests in UP. The UP police blamed the protestors for killing the protestors, in an absurd and ironical twist of diabolical irrationality.  Besides, in some towns, the cops attacked Muslim households at midnight, beating up law-abiding residents, and, allegedly, stealing stuff too, as stated by the locals.

Besides Sadaf, who is also a Congress leader, veteran police officer, a former highly respected Inspector General in the UP Police, SR Darapuri, was arrested. Sadaf was allegedly abused and beaten up in police custody – namely because her name reflected a community which is openly hated by the current regimes and their fanatic bhakts in Delhi and Lucknow.

Boli se nahin to goli se,” said the Yogi in the run-up the assembly elections in Delhi, where the BJP yet again openly played the communal card. This sounded almost like the old Texan saying: “The law hangs on the hip.” Surely, he was only following the provocative call given earlier by Union minister Anurag Thakur seconded by a Hinduva mob which seemed thirsty for blood:  Desh ke gaddaro ko… goli maaro etc.”

However, as the whole nation and the world witnessed with awe and shock, when an upright Delhi High Court judge followed the rule of law and asked the police to file FIRs against those BJP politicians who indulged in hate speech, which, clearly, led to the riots, arson and killings in Northeast Delhi, he was promptly transferred. The government called it a routine transfer – but the midnight order would always remind the people of the midnight knocks during Indira Gandhi’s notorious Emergency, and the travesty of justice in contemporary India.

The Allahabad High Court, while asking the Yogi government to remove the hoardings, said: “In entirety, we are having no doubt that the action of the State, which is subject matter of this public interest litigation, is nothing but an unwarranted interference in privacy of people. The same, hence, is in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” a Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha said.

The Bench stated: “… (The) Advocate General failed to satisfy us as to why the personal data of few persons have been placed on banners though in the state of Uttar Pradesh (when) there are lakhs of accused persons who are facing serious allegations pertaining to commission of crimes whose personal details have not been subjected to publicity,” the high court said in its 14-page order.

“…There are certain provisions empowering the investigating agencies or other executives to take picture of accused for the purpose of their identification and record but that too is not open for publication. The only time these photographs can be published is to have assistance in the apprehension of a fugitive from justice,” said the court. The court observed that “no law is in existence permitting the State to place the banners with personal data of the accused from whom compensation is to be charged.”

The UP government, instead of accepting its grave mistake, went to the apex court. The Supreme Court told the Yogi government that its decision to put up hoardings identifying anti-CAA protesters has no backing in law. It, however, did not pass any interim order and said the matter would be heard later by a three-judge bench.

Ideally, it should have immediately endorsed the Allahabad High Court judgement and asked the UP administration to take down the hoardings with immediate effect. However, in these times, the ideal, or idealism, seems as distant or compromised as the law and order machinery, or the ethics of good governance, as in the state of Uttar Pradesh led by a self-styled yogi in saffron.

Picture courtesy: Sadaf Jafar/Facebook

Yogi Adityanath In Ahmedabad

EC Censures Yogi's 'Modi Ki Sena' Remarks

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission of India has issued a censure to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over his ‘Modi ki Sena’ remark.

Censure is to express disapproval of someone/something in a formal statement.

The EC has advised Adityanath to be more careful in the future as a “senior political leader.”

While addressing a public rally in Ghaziabad on April 1, Adityanath had referred to the Indian Army as “Modi ji ki sena” while drawing a comparison between the steps taken by the BJP-led central government against terrorism and the previous Congress government.

“Things which were impossible for SP-BSP, are now possible; it is possible since Modi is here. Congress used to feed biryani to terrorists but Modi ji ki sena (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s army) gives them only golis and golas (bullets and bombs). This is the difference,” the Chief Minister had said.



Twitter on a roll: 'BJP gets triple talaq'

#Results2018 #AssemblyElections2018 cartoon @DeccanHerald

— sajithkumar (@sajithkumar) December 12, 2018 He also referred to Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Kamal Nath’s statement that he was ensuring personal delivery of the party’s stake-claim letter to the state’s Governor, saying it was good that the party was not relying on the “Governor’s fax machine in MP”, taking a swipe at a recent fax machine controversy in Jammu and Kashmir. Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah also tweeted that the Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh were “smart people” as they were not faxing their letter to Raj Bhawan in Bhopal. One of the viral memes blamed Yogi for the BJP losses and said it was his “caste certificate” to Lord Hanuman which hurt the party and the results are like a revenge by the monkey-god on Tuesday, a day when Hanuman is worshipped. Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted in Hindi, “Abki baar, kho di sarkar” (This time, lost the government), punning it on the popular BJP slogan of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, ‘Abki baar, Modi sarkar‘. (PTI)]]>