In a recent case, the Supreme Court heard conflicting versions of two parties concerning a 24 year old Hindu girl who converted to Islam in Kerala for marriage in December 2016. While the couple claimed it to be voluntary conversion, with the girl’s consensus and willingness to convert into Islam for marriage, the girl’s father accused it to be a strategic step towards greater radicalization, with forcible goals under the blinding “love jihad” banner. While several cases await judicious verdict, religious conversion for love is not unknown in the state of Kerala and is only the tip of the iceberg.
Recurring incidences of suspected indoctrination and conversions resurfaced with the latest media reports, triggering much debate and dispute as “Times Now” revealed how 105 girls were converted into Islam, not under the proclamation of faith but for “fake love.” 99 girls out of the reported converts belong to the Hindu community. The scandalous revelation shouts out “love jihad” to be a shocking reality engulfing Hindu girls in Kerala. “Times Now” disclosed their access to the secret explorations made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Kerala Police that reveal how the “Islamists hunt, convert and exploit Hindu girls.” The prime investigative agencies claimed that the Islamist organizations have established “Dawa Squads” with the mission of targeting Hindu girls to forcibly adopt Islamic religion. It has been discovered that these squads target Hindu girls of a specific disposition, especially graduates aged between 18- 28 years, hailing from relatively weaker section of the Hindu community. The probe facilitated by NIA revealed that these young and vulnerable girls were persuaded to embrace Islam by a “woman agent” associated with the Popular Front of India (PFI). “Sainaba”, member of Social Democratic Party of India, a pawn in the communal drive planted by the fundamentalist Islamist outfits, has been purportedly reported to be deceiving young girls in the garb of a psychologist, to be entrapped into the conversion factory. In 2013, raids conducted by the Kerala Police on PFI centres had nabbed lethal weaponry, foreign currency and bomb-making materials. According to TOI, the recent NIA report sparks a common link in such cases. The report cited mentor Sainaba, as commonly accused in the “Athira Nambair and Akhila Asokan case”. The NIA report on Akhila Asokan’s case that was based on probe by the Kerela police has been held by the Supreme Court to scrutinize probabilities around forced case of conversion and marriage of Hindu girls in Kerala.
The age long debate seems to have emerged as a reality in Kerala. Five years back in 2012, Dr. Radhasyam Brahmachari‘s article disparaged the wide-spread incidences of Muslim men and boys targeting conversions of school and college girls belonging to non-Muslim communities by shamming love, a tag of “love jihad.” The study exposed that Kerala and adjoining places in Karnataka were worst affected by feigns of love jihad” conversions. In 2009, the Karnataka government announced its intentions to counter this issue. The Central Investigation Bureau’s Crime Branch was ordered by the government to probe into this rampaging issue to determine whether organized conspiracies and funding nexus existed in converting girls to Islamic religion. Data collated from investigations across districts of Kerala from 2006 till 2009, indicated shocking incidences of Hindu and Christian girls being victimized into the “love jihad” trap.
Seven months ago, an intelligence report submitted to the Kerala State Police was accessed by the Times of India (TOI) that reported prevalence of two ‘recognized’ conversion centres operating from Kozhikode and Malappuram. These catalyst centres converted over 5000 girls, coerced into embracing Islam between 2011 and 2015. With the possible presence of a higher number of such organized perpetuating efforts and groups, it is feared that many such unrecognized centres could be operating across the state. Missing reports of many girls, who were suspected to have joined the Islamic State after conversions, propelled several inquiries by the police to verify whether these conversions were under compulsion or were voluntary. Detailed State Special Branch investigation in Kasaragod, Kannur, Alappuzha, Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad were recommended to exhume details.
While the situation seems like a deceitful Islamist plot with squads targeting educated Hindu girls for conversions; questions arise on whether Kerala government will shut PFI, in its efforts to grapple with the alarming statistics unveiled.
Article by Rochita.