Hindu fanatics hold multiple “Love Jihad-Land Jihad” protesting across Maharashtra
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The state of Maharashtra faced protests in over 30 places where groups of Hindus came out sloganeering “Love Jihad, Land Jihad”.
The opposition, after these protests said that the power of the extremist ruling party BJP was in danger not the Hindus or their power.
Raising the stakes on the cases of ‘love jihad’ and ‘land jihad’, the Hindu extremist groups initiated an operation provoking the authorities to curb the protests going on in Maharashtra. On 29th of January, a march in Mumbai was organized as a protest also including leaders and activists of political parties like the BJP and Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (BSS) and organisations like the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). The protest was held under the banner of ‘Sakal Hindu Samaj.’
Such practices were observed at 31 places in Maharashtra, including Nagpur, Amravati, Pune, Wardha, Buldhana, Shirdi, Shrirampur and Satara. The murder last year of 27-year-old Shraddha Walkar allegedly by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala in Delhi seemed to be the most recent cause to set off these protests.
When the happening of the murder surfaced, the state government decided to set up a panel to monitor interfaith marriages, which, as expected, gave birth to a major uproar. Charges were there that government was trying to interfere into the private lives and choices of the consenting adults who were involved in interfaith marriages. BJP MLA Nitesh Rane also raised the demand for a law against ‘love jihad’ which is a term proposed by the advocates of the theory that Hindu women are being intentionally tricked and trapped by men of other faiths for religious conversion. Whereas, ‘Land jihad’, on the other hand, is a disapproving reference to the capture of public spaces and government land for constructing religious and residential structures.
“The government must enact the strictest law to counter love jihad considering how we are losing our daughters to an organized conspiracy. There are many such cases [like Shraddha Walkar’s] across the nation. A brainwashing machinery is in existence that ensures parents are alienated from such girls,” said Vishva Hindu Parishad Joint Secretary Shriraj Nair while demanding that ‘love jihad’ cases be fast-tracked in the courts.
Nair also demanded action taken against mosques and madrassas illegally coming up on government land. “A strong law against land jihad is needed and these illegal constructions must be demolished. This is a threat to the security of Mumbai, which has faced terror attacks in the past.”
The Opposition political party of Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) pointed out an irony which is that the protest has been organized when a pro-Hindutva combine of the BJP-BSS is in power in the state while the BJP is leading the central government. “This was a BJP rally and not a rally to represent jan aakrosh (public ire) of Hindus. People may misunderstand that the Maharashtra unit of the BJP may have held this morcha against Narendra Modi. Because a Hindu Jan Aakrosh Morcha in Maharashtra is a challenge to Modi and Amit Shah. They are in power in Delhi and Maharashtra, and yet if conversions and love jihad, as claimed by the BJP, are taking place, then this is a failure of the government.” said Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.
Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant pointed out that “the Hindutvawadis were organising a Jan Aakrosh Morcha when a Hindutvawadi party was in power”. “These are the double standards of the BJP. It is not the Hindus but the BJP’s power which is in jeopardy,” he said.