What is the real intent of the extremists launching this aggressive “love jihad” campaign

While the overt fault lines are communal, with the Hindu-Muslim binary feeding base level social and political prejudices, increasingly evident is the real intent/motive behind this assault; it is Autonomy and freedom of choice, for women

Love Jihad

Normally on two sides of a bitterly contested ideological and political battlefield, last Friday saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress join hands in the Gujarat assembly. Their intent—a motive to re-cast society and give “parents” control on choice of the children’s life partner!

“Gujarat MLAs: Make consent of parents mandatory for love marriages”, said a Times of India headline from last Friday. The day before saw, in the Gujarat state assembly, a demand from the dominant BJP and a decimated Congress MLAs, urging “amendment of existing laws to make the signature of parents mandatory in case of love marriages, and that such marriages be registered in the same taluka where the man or woman live.”

The issue suddenly surfaced during a discussion on the legal department when the BJP MLA from Kalol Fatehsinh Chauhan demanded that the government bring out an amendment making it compulsory to have the parents’ signature in case of love marriages. Never mind that this ludicrous demand goes against the spirit of free adult choice and the very aims and objectives of the Special Marriages Act, he said, “Marriages solemnized without the consent of parents add to the crime rate in the state and if such marriages are registered with the consent of parents, the crime rate would come down by 50%. Court marriages are registered not in the respective area but other districts.

He went on. “The boy and girls hide their documents and marry in other districts and later either the girl suffers, or the parents have to commit suicide. Parents who are busy because of their professions cannot take care of their girls and hence anti-socials take advantage of this and elope with girls.” Making such bizarre and baseless claims without any data to back then Chauhan then demanded that the government amend existing laws and make it compulsory to have the consent of the parents for court marriages. “There are several cases in Kalol where girls have been lured by anti-socials and kidnapped and to save them such an amendment is necessary.

He found an unlikely ally in woman MLA, Geni Thakore, of the Congress MLA from Vav, who raised a similar demand. She said, “We have been demanding for a long time that changes be made in the law about love marriages.” She said, “I demanded that there should be an amendment in the law and many other MLAs raised similar demands.”
She said, “We are not against love marriage but we want the change to ensure that no boys who do not get girls for marriage or have criminal backgrounds lure girls and marry them and as this leads to harassment of the girl who has to suffer in the end. We want that the marriage procession should come to the girl’s house as is customary and hence we want an amendment in the act which should make it compulsory to marry the girl in her village and to ensure the registration is done in the taluka where she stays and the witnesses should be from her own village only.”

She added that such an amendment would save the lives of thousands of girls and give time to the police to investigate other cases, as police are only involved in investigation of such cases.

Ironically, Gujarat’s law minister Rushikesh Patel remained silent on the issue and did not reply to the demands of Chauhan and Thakore.

Another bizarre demand two days later:  ‘Harebrained’: SC rejects plea for registration of live-ins, pleader mentions Shraddha Walkar

Advocate Petitioner Mamta Rani was pulled up by the Supreme Court when she tried to invite the court’s attention to “live-in relationships.” In her petition that was summarily dismissed by the apex court, she pointed out that there had been a huge increase of crimes in live-in relationships; said a database with Centre could prevent this.

She met with a sharp rebuttal. The Supreme Court on Monday, March 20, dismissed as “harebrained” a public interest litigation that sought the registration of live-in relationships since there are “no rules and guidelines covering such partnerships”. A bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, and Justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala, wondered if the petitioner wanted to prevent live-in relationships under the guise of protecting them.

Annoyed that “people come with anything” to the top court, Justice Chandrachud demanded, “Registration with whom? The central government? What does the central government have to do with people living in live-in relationships?” “We’ll start imposing costs on such cases,” he observed, before dismissing it as “just a harebrained petition”.

Advocate Mamta Rani wanted directions to the Centre to formulate rules for the registration of live-in relationships. She argued that the court has “time and again” given protection to members of live-in relationships “be it women, men or even the children born out of such relationship.”

She said in the absence of such rules there had been a vast increase in crimes by live-in partners, including rape and murder.

The petitioner referred to several cases, including that of Maharashtra girl Shraddha Walkar.

According to the petitioner, a registration of such a relationship would apprise the partners about each other and also the government about their “marital status, criminal history” and other details. The PIL not only wanted laws but also a central database of the exact number of people in such relationships in the country.


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