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Mon Dec 14, 2020, 06:19 AM

Muslims targeted under Indian state's 'love jihad' law

Source: The Guardian

Muslims targeted under Indian state's 'love jihad' law

Hindu rightwing conspiracy theory prompts crackdown on interfaith marriages in Uttar Pradesh

Hannah Ellis-Petersen South Asia correspondent
Mon 14 Dec 2020 02.00 EST

Police in India have rounded up Muslim men and disrupted interfaith marriage ceremonies under new laws prohibiting so-called “love jihad”.

In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, police have begun cracking down on marriages between Muslims and Hindus and have arrested at least 10 Muslim men under a law that prohibits forced religious conversions.

“Love jihad” is a Hindu rightwing conspiracy theory claiming that Muslim men lure Hindu women into marriage in order to force their conversion to Islam. Though the central government admitted in February it had no official records of any incidents of the practice, the theory has gained so much traction in India that it has been used to justify legislation enacted in Uttar Pradesh and is proposed in four other Indian states.

This week a marriage between two Muslims was stopped by police in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, after a tipoff by a Hindu rightwing group. The police stormed the ceremony and arrested Haider Ali, 39, who was kept in custody overnight and alleged that the police tortured him for hours using a leather belt. It was only after the family produced evidence that his bride was Muslim by birth that they released Ali.

The Uttar Pradesh crackdown has fuelled fears that the “love jihad” law is being used to target Muslims and outlaw consensual interfaith marriage in Uttar Pradesh. No Hindus have been arrested under the new law.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/14/muslims-targeted-under-indian-states-love-jihad-law

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