Moral police of different communities go overboard in thwarting inter-religious love affairs
This is the age of social media where friends and peer groups stay connected in whichever part of the globe they are in. However, the same social networking sites are also being used by different communities to monitor ‘lovebirds’ who dare to cross the line.
Hate mongers as well as the ‘moral police’ are quite active on social media platforms like Facebook with messages and posts asking people, especially the youngsters of their community, to be vigilant against the ‘evil designs’ of nefarious elements, obviously from the other communities. Girls who befriend youths from other communities seem to be top on the list for these vigilantes.
“Dear friends, youngsters associated with certain radical organisations are trapping our sisters and converting them. It is time we keep a check on the activities of sisters,” reads a post on a popular social networking site.
On the other hand, another post warns, “Beware of ‘Love Jihad’ – Let us be aware and foil the attempt.”
“A few overzealous youngsters believe the propaganda and apprehend couples if they happen to hail from two different communities in public places and threaten or harass them,” says S.Q. Masood, a social activist.
Attack on couples
As a result, lovelorn youngsters are now wary of being seen in public places with their partners from another religion. In the last one year many instances of attacks on couples hailing from two different religions were reported in the city, but many couples avoided approaching the police for fear of legal issues.
But how is a person’s religion identified by a troublemaker? The logic is simple – the activists just look at the religious symbols pasted on the vehicles to ascertain the boy’s religion.
“Within no time a mob gathers and threatens the couple even on major thoroughfares. In most of the cases the patrolling party or community elders intervene to calm the situation,” say a police official working in the old city, requesting anonymity.
However, these inferences often prove to be wrong too. “A few months ago a businessman was stopped at Shamsheergunj in Old City for moving around with a woman wearing a veil, leading to a scuffle. Later, to their surprise, it turned out that the woman was wearing a veil only to conceal her identity,” says M.A. Sayeed, a peace volunteer.
A few days ago some youngsters ‘caught’ a guy when he was dropping his girlfriend on noticing a prominent community symbol on his bike. After the boy started to speak the local dialect, not before a few blows were rained, did they realise that he was using a friend’s bike!