NCW chief discusses ‘rise in love jihad’ with Maharashtra governor, draws flak

Rekha Sharma told governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari there was a rise in cases of “love jihad” in Maharashtra

NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma with Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. Photo: Twitter/NCWIndia

The National Commission for Women’s (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma was criticised by netizens for discussing “rise in love jihad cases” among other issues related to women’s safety with Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in Mumbai on Tuesday (October 20).

Sharma told governor there was a rise in cases of “love jihad” in the state and highlighted the distinction between consensual inter-faith marriages and “love jihad”, stating that the latter required attention, NCW said in a press release, according to news agency PTI.

The NCW chief also stressed on the need to enact a law akin to the Disha Act in Andhra Pradesh which provides for speedy trial of crimes against women and harsh punishment, the release stated.

Related news: No ‘love jihad’ cases in Kerala, says Union Home Ministry

“Some 188 cases filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act are pending beyond the statutory three-month period. This should be looked into on priority,” Sharma said.

On its official Twitter handle, NCW shared a picture of Sharma sitting with the governor during the meeting. It was captioned, “Our Chairperson @sharmarekha met with Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, His Excellency, Governor of Maharashtra & discussed issues related to #womensafety in the state including defunct One Stop Centres, molestation & rape of women patients at #COVID centres & rise in love jihad cases (sic).”

Following this tweet, Sharma came under fire with many Twitter users slamming her for using the term “lover jihad”. Also, her old tweets were being circulated, after which she protected her personal Twitter account, which meant only her followers can see her tweets.

A Twitter user asked, “Would the NCW & its Chairperson kindly clarify what is meant by ‘love jihad’? Are you using it with the same meaning which some extremist groups are doing? If so, are you endorsing their brand of vigilantism? (sic).” Many used the hashtag #SackRekhaSharma on Twitter.