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After Himanta Sarma, Shivraj Chouhan calls for a law against “Love Jihad”

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“This is not love. This is jihad in the name of love,” Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.

Bhopal:

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today said the state would have a new law against ‘love jihad’ if needed, citing the grisly murder of Shraddha Walkar by her boyfriend Aftaab Poonawala in Delhi which shocked the nation. Speaking at an event to mark the anniversary of the martyrdom of tribal icon Tantiya Bhil, Mr Chouhan said the state would not allow anyone to ‘cheat their daughters and cut them into 35 pieces’ .

“This is not love. This is jihad in the name of love. I will not allow this game of love jihad on the soil of Madhya Pradesh at any cost,” Chouhan said.

The term love-jihad was coined by the right to describe many interfaith relationships. A right-wing section argues that Muslim men deliberately lure Hindu women into relationships to secure their religious conversion.

“Can someone cheat on our daughters, marry them and cut them into 35 pieces? Are we going to allow this?

Chouhan is the second BJP chief minister to call for a strong law against “love jihad”, citing the murder of Shraddha Walkar.

In a recent interview with NDTV, Mr Chouhan’s counterpart in Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma, said ‘love jihad’ was a ‘reality’ and the country needed ‘strict law’ against it .

“Amorous jihad is a reality from a national point of view,” said Mr. Sarma. “There is evidence of love jihad (in the Walkar case)…even in Aaftab’s polygraph test it is said that he revealed that his actions would lead him to jannat (heaven). There are reports about it,” he said. NDTV.

BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh already has an anti-conversion law, dubbed the “anti-love jihad law”.

In 2021, the state government enacted a law that penalizes religious conversions through fraudulent means. It provides for prison terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to Rs 1 lakh.

Mr Chouhan had said that if someone “plots religious conversion or does something like ‘love jihad’, you will be destroyed”.

In February 2020, the Union Home Ministry told Parliament that the term “love jihad” was not defined in the current laws and that no cases had been reported by a central agency, formally distancing itself from the term.

Asked about it, Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that there was now an effort to find a legal definition of the term, “because we are convinced that the jihad of love exists even when you take a polygraph test”.

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