New Delhi: One of the inter-faith couples named in a viral list published by a Hindutva Facebook page – asking Hindus to “hunt down” the men involved – has lodged a complaint with the Kolkata police cyber cell after receiving death threats.
The list, published on a Facebook group called Hindu Vrata, named over 100 inter-faith couples and went viral on social media in January. In each instance, the man was a Muslim and the woman a Hindu. “This is a list of girls who have become victims of love jihad. We urge all Hindu lions to find and hunt down all the men mentioned here,” the now-deleted post said.
According to a report in the Indian Express, the Kolkata-based couple started receiving death threats and being harassed on social media after the list went viral. “We… Have been targeted by a group of people… We were further subjected to death threats, so far I am aware of, such situation of causing harm to us, and/or spreading hatred in the name of religion are offences under the India Penal Code, 1860. In such view of the matter , you are requested to take immediate steps against such activities,” the couple’s police complain says.
“It was on the January 4 that my girlfriend was shocked to find such a list being highlighted by individuals and various groups through social media. She was scared and informed me. Some of the groups called for saving the women, some individuals highlighted couples like us as love jihad in social media,” the man, who registered the complaint on February 7, told Indian Express.
According to him, the online targeting faced by the couple was carried out in an organised manner. “Thereafter unknown people, started dropping messages warning my girlfriend about love jihad and not to meet with the person she loves. She blocked some of them but the rest continued. She is now off social media. Someone meticulously searched and made the list of so many couples. There has to be a team behind this,” he told the Indian Express.
Other couples on the list have also expressed fear and dismay. “So far there has not been any harassment. I have seen the list where we are mentioned. I am shocked. She is my friend. Can’t a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl be friends? No one has the right to write about me and my friend like this. This country has so many religions and culture. We may approach the police. We trust the law of the land,” Mohammed Sahid told Indian Express. He and his girlfriend are from Burdwan.
One of the girls on the list is a Class XII student. “I do not use social media that much. I am aware that someone put my name and profile with my former boyfriend and called it Love Jihad. I had a relationship for three years but I have broken up with him. I am with someone else now. Will I be harmed?” she said when contacted by the newspaper.
Read about how to report harassment and hate speech on social media here.