[With two updates added on October 15, 2014]
The phrase ‘Jihad Against Love’ is Janaki Nair’s in The Hindu – Why Love is a Four Letter Word. I can’t think of a better description of this sick, twisted, violent campaign, in which local Hindutvavaadi thugs ally with families desperate to control their young sons and daughters from – quite simply – falling in love. Families that have no qualms in violently separating their children from relationships outside their caste or religious community, often killing one or both of them. Such murders have come to be dubbed ‘honour killings’ by the English media, but a starker, more revealing term is suggested by Pratiksha Baxi – ‘custodial deaths’. Indeed, the young people killed in such cases are in the custody, much like prisoners, of their own families.
If you haven’t had enough of tragic love stories, take a look at Perveez Mody’s book, The Intimate State: Love-Marriage and the Law in Delhi (Routledge, Oxford and New Delhi, 2008) for heart-breaking accounts of of treachery and betrayal by parents, of their own children who fall in love with the wrong people, and the kinds of physical violence unleashed on rebellious couples by their own families.
The Hindutvavaadi campaign has an able ally in the Christian Right. A report in 2009 in The Times of India said:
‘Love Jihad’, a religious conversion racket which lures gullible girls by feigning love, has brought rivals Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Christian groups in Kerala together.
“Both Hindu and Christian girls are falling prey to the design. So we are cooperating with the VHP on tackling this. We will work together to whatever extent possible,” said K S Samson, an office-bearer of Kochi-based Christian Association for Social Action (CASA), a voluntary Christian association.
Samson said some days ago, CASA got to know about a Hindu family in a Christian parish where a school going girl was the victim. ”We immediately referred it to the VHP,” he said, adding the saffron outfit has helped them in many cases.