Margashirsha Krushna Navami, Kaliyug Varsha 5111
By V R Jayaraj, Kochi
Wants law to stop forced conversions
The Kerala High Court on Wednesday stated that forced conversions, termed as Love Jihad or Romeo Jihad, and efforts for that were a reality in the State despite the arguments by the Kerala Director General of Police, and Union Home Department to the contrary.
Stating that the State Government had the responsibility to check forced conversions, the court asked it to formulate legislation on the lines of the other States.
Rejecting a petition for anticipatory bail in a Love Jihad case filed by Shehenshah, a Muslim youth, who had allegedly forced a non-Muslim MBA girl student of a Pathanamthitta college in the name of love, the court said that campuses should not be turned into venues for forced conversions through false love affairs.
Justice KT Sankaran also rejected another petition seeking a ban on the use of the terms Love Jihad and Romeo Jihad.
Earlier, Kerala DGP Jacob Punnoose had submitted in the court that no evidence was available to prove the existence of an organised movement in the State, specialising in converting non-Muslim girls into Islam through treacherous love affairs. Subsequently, the Union Home Department told the court that it had no information of any movement anywhere in the country specialising in such conversion methods.
Justice Sankaran also pointed out that the reports submitted by top police officials in the State were of contradictory in nature. The DGP had told the court that there were no “actionable” evidences to suggest that such a conversion campaign was on in Kerala but indications of possibility of such a programme was there. The court also said that 14 out of the 18 reports from SPs on the matter, submitted by the DGP, were of no value or use.
However, police reports themselves had made it clear that forced conversions through love affairs as a movement had been going on in Kerala since 1996. The judge said that the police reports had indicated that about 4,000 conversions had taken place through love affairs in the past four years, and 2,800 girls of other religions had undergone conversion into Islam in this period.
He also said that 1,600 such conversions had taken place in four northern districts, including Malappuram, Kerala’s Muslim-majority district. It was evident from the report submitted by the DGP that outfits like Islamist Popular Front of India (earlier NDF) and its student wing, the Campus Front, were behind the organised campus-based conversion programme, said Justice Sankaran.
He added that the DGP’s report had also indicated that Muslim conversion centres had been functioning in Kozhikode district.
Though the Constitution guaranteed equal rights to all religions, the right for faith should not be used for forced conversions and conversions through treachery, the judge said. Mixed marriages could be promoted but such marriages should not be used as tools for forced or treacherous conversions, he pointed out.
He also said that several other States had formulated legislations for preventing forced conversions and the people and the Government of Kerala should consider formulation of such legislation in view of the particular context.
Source: Daily Pioneer
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