Background checks will curb ‘love jihad’, says Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami

Since an anti-conversion law was introduced by the government, multiple cases of ‘love Jihad’ have been reported from across Uttarakhand

Updated - June 10, 2023 10:15 am IST

Published - June 10, 2023 02:58 am IST - New Delhi

BJP leader Pushkar Singh Dhami. File

BJP leader Pushkar Singh Dhami. File | Photo Credit: PTI

With tension brewing in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi town after a minor girl attempted to elope with a boy from the minority community, the Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Friday said that to check the rising cases of “love jihad” (an expression coined by right wing groups for interfaith relationships), the government will launch background checks for people who recently moved to Uttarakhand. “People will be able to live in Uttarakhand only after verification,” he added.

The CM’s statement came a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) minority morcha chief in Uttarkashi, was forced to leave his home after protests by right-wing groups. Speaking to The Hindu, Mohammed Zahid, the BJP functionary said that when he objected to protests by right wing groups, he was told his garment shop would be burnt down.

A minor girl was allegedly abducted by two youths, one Hindu and the other a Muslim, in Uttarkashi town on May 26. The two accused were caught by locals and an FIR was lodged against them under the POCSO Act following a complaint by the girl’s family. They were sent to jail on the very same day but after the incident, various right-wing organizations, including Bajrang Dal Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bhairav Sena to name a few have started agitations against members of the minority community.

‘Devbhoomi Raksha Abhiyan’, a right-wing group, has allegedly stuck posters across the city asking members of the minority community to leave town and are holding a Mahapanchyat on June 15. Several families were forced to leave the town.

Mr. Zahid, who has been living in Uttarkashi for over two decades, said that he hasn’t received any support from his party and was told to stay quiet.

“Jab hum safe nahi hai to bataiye kaun sa musalman safe hoga waha (How will the Muslims stay safe there?),” Mr. Zahid added.

Mr. Dhami, who was addressing media after holding a meeting with police and administrative officials in the state capital, Dehradun, said that officials have been asked to take stern action against “love jihad.”

“The incidents of love jihad have increased only recently. This is also because awareness has also increased. People have started coming forward against this crime which is part of a well thought out strategy,” said Mr. Dhami.

The Chief Minister added that most of the incidents of “Love Jihad” have come to the fore in the last 2-3 months after the government’s anti-conversion law was enacted.

“I have told officials to take strict action against the accused in these cases. We will also run verification drives from time to time on the basis of which people will be able to live in Uttarakhand,” the CM added.

He also maintained that because people in of different faiths co-exist peacefully in Uttarakhand, anti-social elements have started taking advantage.

“These crimes will not be allowed here at any cost,” the CM said.

According to reports, over 5 cases of ‘love jihad’ have been reported across the state in the past one month. Minors girls were caught on the run with Muslim boys in Chamoli, Haridwar, Tyuni areas.

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