'Love Jihad Is a Word Manufactured by BJP to Divide the Nation': Ashok Gehlot

In a series of tweets, Gehlot accused the party of plotting to 'fuel social conflict' and 'disregarding constitutional provisions'.

New Delhi: Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying the party had manufactured the term “love jihad” to “divide the nation and disturb communal harmony”.

In a series of tweets, Gehlot accused the party of plotting to “fuel social conflict” and “disregarding constitutional provisions”.

“They are creating an environment in the nation where consenting adults would be at the mercy of state power. Marriage is a personal decision and they are putting curbs on it, which is like snatching away personal liberty,” he added.

The series of tweets by the senior Congress leader follows moves by various states including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to bring legal provisions against “love jihad” – a theory without any evidence that Sangh parivar outfits peddle to claim Muslims are ‘trapping’ Hindu girls with the aim of converting them for marriage.

It’s important to note here that the Constitution of India guards inter-religious love and marriage, and protects personal liberties under Article 21. It guarantees the right to choose a partner from any faith and caste. However, some states are prepared to go against the supreme law of the country.

Experts said that the concept of love jihad has no legal or constitutional basis, and marrying someone is a “purely private decision” and the “state has no concern with it”.

Madhya Pradesh will soon introduce a ‘love jihad Bill’ in the state assembly, which includes five years of rigorous imprisonment for ‘violators’. As per the provisions of the Bill, it will be necessary to notify the district collector a month in advance before formalising an inter-faith marriage. The proposed law against “love jihad” would be cognizable and non-bailable.

Other BJP-led governments in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are also reportedly mulling such legal provisions against “love jihad”.