Centre also ‘ignorant’ of Love Jihad

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi-Daily Pioneer published on December 1, 2009

The Union Home Department on Tuesday informed the Kerala High Court that it did not have information on any organization called Love Jihad or Romeo Jihad, specializing in a campaign for converting non-Muslim girls into Islam through love affairs in Kerala or anywhere else in the country. The Kerala Police had earlier submitted a similar report to the court.

The Central Home Secretary also told the court that there were no evidences available to suggest that organized efforts were going on anywhere in the country to convert non-Muslims into Islam. The Director General of Kerala Police had last month submitted a similar report to the High Court.

The Central Home Department had submitted the affidavit to the High Court following its instruction on September 30 to report on the allegations about an organized conversion programme in the name of love by Islamists in the context of reports on non-Muslim girls being trapped in love affairs by Muslim youths and converted into Islam. The court had asked the Union Home Secretary to file a report after an investigation into the matter by the Intelligence agencies.

The affidavit said that there were several instances of conversion into Islam but these were on individual preferences following love relationships. There was no reason to view these conversions as part of an organized programme. The report said. The court had given the instruction while taking up the cases of forced conversion of two girls into Islam after they fell in love with two Muslim youths.

The Kerala Police and the Central Home Department had on October 22 told the court that no organization called Love Jihad or Romeo Jihad existed. But the court asked the two authorities to file fresh reports as their arguments were vague and self-contradictory.

Kerala DGP Jacob Punnoose had on November 11 told the High Court he was as yet unable to arrive at a clear conclusion about the existence of such an organization as the reports he had got from his subordinate officials were contradictory. He had said that three out of the total 18 reports he had received had spoken of allegations about the existence of such an organization but there were no corroborative evidences available.

The DGP had told the court that investigations were still on to establish the truth of the allegations about Love Jihad. He also submitted in sealed envelope 18 reports presented to him by Superintendents of Police and Intelligence wing of the State police..

Punnoose had earlier told the court that there were reports of some incidents where non-Muslim girls were converted into Islam in the name of love. He had also told the court that those who had been indulging in this practice could have been getting financial assistance for purchasing materials they required and also for accessing legal help. The court termed this report incomplete and self-contradictory.

Community organizations in Kerala criticized the reports of the DGP and the Union Home Department for not being able top find out the truth of the allegations even four months after a very solid case about Love Jihad came up in the court. In early August, the parents of two girls – one Hindu and the other Christian – had filed habeas corpus petitions in the high court after they had gone missing from home.

The girls, upon production at the court, had said that one Shehenshah and his friend Sirajuddeen, the girls’ lovers, had taken them to a deserted house in Chelari near Kozhikode to forcibly convert them into Islam and had made them sign marriage contracts. It was during the examination of this case the court had asked the DGP to investigate the allegations in detail.

An assistant commandant of the Kerala Police had earlier found out that as many as 940 girls had gone “missing” in Kerala in the past five years. According to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC), the known number of Kerala girls who fell into the trap of Love Jihad in the three years starting 2006 was 2,866.

However, only 703 cases were registered owing to the embarrassment such cases could cause to the families and the upsets they could create in matters like the marriage of the missing girls’ siblings, says the KCBC. From among these missing girls, only 264 had returned, it says.

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