Saurav Dutt
Aug 31, 2017 · 4 min read

Women must fight Love Jihad, but have to be informed about their rights in a Sharia Marriage first.

“Love Jihad” is now rampant in the south of India where gangs are cornering on vulnerable Hindu women to forcibly convert them. The act itself extricates women of the rights they deserve but if they are given the information they need, this is the first stage in combating a truly heinous practice.

The phrase “Love Jihad” is not an arbitrarily discriminatory term that opposes the love affair or marriage of a Muslim person to one who is not Muslim, it is far murkier.

It comes about when a Hindu girl and Muslim boy becomes a couple where there is an element of deception, where the girl is vulnerable and not highly educated and where there is an alleged conversion to Islam in the process. Mix into this a conspiracy where religious leaders sponsor young men with leisure, money, accessories, and training to fall in “love” with unsuspecting Hindu or Christian girls and get them to convert and you have the makings of a particularly underhanded way of imprisoning an impressionable woman.

The problem is that this is happening and is not the stuff of bad movies. A secret report prepared by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Kerala Police, which was leaked to popular news channel Times Now, highlighted a plot by the Islamist organisations in the state to hunt and forcibly convert Hindu girls into Islam.

According to the channel’s report, Islamist organisations in Kerala, using groups called Dawa Squads, have been exploiting and forcibly converting Hindu girls belonging to the weaker sections of the society. These squads, the report says, target young girls who are graduates and are aged between 18 to 28. According to Times Now, “105 out of 130 girls were converted not for faith but fake love”.

Marriage itself is not just about cohabiting it is a legally binding contract. Under the law of India there are rights and responsibilities which the contract bestows upon husband and wife.

In the Hindu and Special Marriage Act, the rights and responsibilities of the husband and wife are more or less equivalent.

As per the Sharia Law, they are not. The rights of the wife are dramatically lower in here. It is to the shame of Nehru and Congress delusional thinking that India agreed to compromise and that the secular state created two parallel systems. This was done to avoid a tough judicial and political situation like most of the Idea of India laws. But it has come at a cost.

Love Jihad cases always involve a non-Muslim girl crossing over to Islam.

Under Sharia Law, both the man and woman have to be Muslims. So the real issue is that in all cases of love jihad — the man is forcing the girl to get married under the Sharia Law instead of the Hindu Special Marriage Act. The conversion is just a formal requirement — there just can’t be a Nikah (i.e. the Maulvi will refuse to conduct it) unless both the participants are Muslim.

The elephant in the room here isn’t so much about Sharia or procedures but about consent.

When a Hindu girl gets married under Sharia Law, she gives up her existing rights. So even if she consented — was it an informed consent in the sense that she voluntarily surrendered her rights?

Well it’s interesting that the girls who are picked on in these cases are usually those who are not acquainted with their legal rights in the first instance. They are more often than not relatively undereducated and young, coming from largely rural areas, with fleeting links to urbanity; at most they are led to believe the marriage ceremony is done following Muslim customs while they retain all their rights.

Once the mistake is made it’s hard for girls to find an exit route once they discover the man is already married or ready to marry another girl; and so the deception is complete.

Since this is about consent and rights we must educate women about what they are getting into. We are not concerned about Hindu girls marrying Muslims and leading happy lives thereafter through choice, this is about the zero-sum game where Hindu girls are made to marry under Sharia after converting.

If this is to happen then Hindu girls must be either required to sign or at least informed about exactly the rights they are losing; in essence a waiver form, waiving your right to need your consent if the husband wishes to marry again, or agreeing to waive a right to divorce procedures, for instance.

Love jihad is not only mired in deception it leads to a net loss of rights for impressionable women who are duped and as the revelations above indicate, are outright coerced. Therefore we have to put up checks to ensure that information about the loss of rights is readily available to these women before they make the biggest decision of their lives.

Saurav Dutt

Written by

@GuardianBooks @latimesbooks short-listed Author of 'The Butterfly Room'| Political Columnist @IBTimes @AHTribune @timesofisrael | Featured on @SkyNews @BBC @RT

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