Hindu Activists in India Warn Women to Beware of ‘Love Jihad’

Conservative Hindu activist Chetna Sharma warns Hindu women that Muslim men will try to trick them into marriage and force them to convert to Islam. Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

Conservative Hindu activist Chetna Sharma warns Hindu women that Muslim men will try to trick them into marriage and force them to convert to Islam. Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal

AURANGABAD, India—NIHARIKA MANDHANA writes: Conservative Hindu activist Chetna Sharma looked sternly at her audience of more than 40 young Hindu women gathered in the living room of a rural home and issued a warning: Muslim men would try to trick them into marriage and force them to convert to Islam.

“When one Hindu girl leaves to be with a Muslim, four or five new members will be added to that community.”

Given a chance, Muslim men would force a woman “to have two or three children and then leave her, or rape her, or throw acid on her if she resists, or murder her,” she said. “You can’t even imagine what can happen if you don’t protect yourself from love jihad.”Junho Kim-WSJ

“A majoritarian Hinduism got elected and that is having rather subtle but threatening consequences.”

Right-wing Hindu organizations and politicians have mounted a high-profile drive against “love jihad,” which they paint as a dark, international conspiracy aimed at eroding Hindus’ demographic dominance in India by brainwashing Hindu women.

[The cover of the latest edition of Panchjanya, a right-wing magazine, asks: Is love blind or a business? Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal]

Authorities say they haven’t found any proof of an Islamist conspiracy to convert or abuse Hindu women. Critics of the Hindu right dismiss the whole thing as nonsense. And Muslim leaders decry it as a campaign of hate.

But activists from a network of Hindu groups with close, if informal, ties to India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party are traveling from village to village in the country’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, spreading the word—with some prominent BJP lawmakers speaking out in support.

The campaign comes amid a broader increase in religiously charged public discourse in India since national elections catapulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP to power in May.

Both Mr. Modi and the BJP have deep roots in Hindu nationalism. Since coming to power, the Indian leader’s agenda has focused on economic development. But some BJP figures and leaders of conservative Hindu groups have become increasingly vocal in proclaiming that India is a Hindu nation…(read more)

Note: This article may be subscription only (pundit planet is a subscriber) if so, check again, it might be available after a period of days, it’s worth reading — and worth the subscription, too, in our humble opinion. For World reporting, WSJ is worth a few cups of joe.

WSJ

Write to Niharika Mandhana at niharika.mandhana@wsj.com


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