‘Love jihad’ bogey: Why BJP sees hate in interfaith marriages

Experts opine that the term love jihad is oxymoronic and governments cannot and should not interfere with personal choices of people | Illustration - Eunice Dhivya

Some time in mid-2017, Reshma VK, a 23-year-old woman from Kasargod, Kerala, studying in Mangalore, eloped with Mohammed Iqbal Chaudhury from Mumbai, with whom she was in a relationship. She later married him of her own volition and settled there.

Reshma initially got acquainted with Iqbal on Facebook. They fell in love over a period of time and began to meet. Having attained the legal age for marriage (18), she decided to get married to Chaudhury and left a note to her parents before leaving home to live with him in Mumbai.

All this was against her parents’ wishes. Her father, a businessman in Kasargod, especially could not accept this. It was an apt case for the right-wing activists and soon the Bajrang Dal got involved.

In December that year, the group led by its convener Sharan Pumpwell dubbed the case ‘love jihad’, projecting Chaudhury as a Muslim radical. He even met then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the matter.

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