Every religion teaches you love, and yet love has no religion of itself. India has always been infamous for its intolerance towards inter-caste, inter-communal or inter-religion marriages. Love jihad, also known as Romeo jihad is believed to be an elaborate practice where Muslim men convert Hindu and Christian women to Islam through trickery and expressions of false love.
Akhila Asokan, a 24 year old from an average middle class family from Kerala’s small town Kottayam had recently completed her degree course in Homeopathic medicine (BHMS) from Shivaraj Homeopathy Medical College, Salem. Being the only child of her parents, she was very close to them and was the apple of their eye. But around a year ago, things took a serious turn and the common girl did not remain so common anymore.
While in college, Akhila shared her accommodation with two Muslim girls, who diligently followed their Islamic traditions. All the three roommates shared a good relation with each other and as a result Akhila developed a very strange attraction towards the tenets and beliefs of Islam. A little later, Akhila quietly became Hadiya for the world and the parents were taken aback.
It was all still low-key until Hadiya married a Muslim man named Shafin Jahan aged 27 years. It became breaking news throughout the country after the girl’s parents filed a writ for the annulment of the ‘Nikah’ and to get their daughter back from a Muslim couple who had assumed her guardianship.
The irony of the whole situation is that the earlier bench had allowed Hadiya to live her converted life as she wished, whereas the consecutive writ that was filed by her parents was ruled in their favor after which she had to return home with them. The unusual thing that the court observed here was the fact that Hadiya married a stranger Muslim under sudden and suspicious conditions while the matter was still pending in the court. The court remained unconvinced about many elements in the story. It believes that this matter is not about ‘a girl falling in love with a boy of a different religion and wanting to get married to him.’ On the contrary what the court failed to contemplate is that a marriage between two consenting adults cannot be annulled on the request of the third party.
Love jihad is a term that has been coined by Hindu right-wing organizations like RSS, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, etc, to harass the bona fide Muslims in the country. Of course we cannot overlook the actual cases from the past where the Muslim men have actually tried to lure Hindu women and eventually manipulated them to work for the ISIS. The court and the political parties need to have a strategy to deal with such issues arising across the states. Educate the women to judge an individual in order to save themselves from falling into any such trap.
The healthy way to deal with this matter is by keeping a strict check on the girls opting for conversion and further travelling to Muslim concentrated countries. House arresting and annulling a marriage is no solution to it. A 24 year old adult has free will to decide her religion or her partner. The maximum that the parents or the guardians can do is, ensure the fact that she’s in the right company.
However, the security of the country is of utmost importance and cannot be compromised with at any cost. Therefore, if the apex court thinks that NIA interference is necessary, so shall it be. But let the nation take the matter of the Hadiya and Shafin as a precedent to incorporating a better procedure in dealing with the inter-communal matters.
The views expressed are strictly personal in nature and do not necessarily represent the views of the portal in any way.