VHP launches campaign against 'love jihad', illegal religious conversions

Vishwa Hindu Parishad
Members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) shout slogans during a protest against Valentine's Day celebrations in 2018. File photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Thursday launched a nationwide public "awareness campaign", claiming that "love jihad" and illegal religious conversions are taking place across the country.

The month-long 'Jan Jagran Abhiyan' by the RSS affiliate seeks to create "a deterrent force" against "love jihad", a term used by right-wing organisations alleging that Muslim men are luring Hindu women into relationships to convert them to Islam.

The outfit's nationwide campaign also seeks to drum up support in favour of its demand for enactment of a central law against illegal conversions and 'love jihad'.

As part of the campaign, the Bajrang Dal -- the VHP's youth wing -- will take out 'Shaurya Yatra' (valour march) in every block of the country from Thursday to December 10, VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain told reporters at a press conference.

"The Bajrang Dal will take out the Shaurya Yatra across all blocks in the country so that a sense of 'shaurya' is developed among the youth and nobody dares to make our sisters and daughters victim of love jihad," he added.

Jain said the VHP will carry out 'Dharma Raksha Abhiyan' from December 21 to December 31.

Meanwhile, Durga Vahini, the VHP's women's wing, will also carry out a campaign to make girls aware of the love jihad and alert them against falling in "such traps", the VHP leader said.

"Through Durga Vahini, a deterrent force will be created by spreading awareness among the girls," he added.

Announcing the launch of the campaign, Jain said while religious conversion is a nationwide concern, "love jihad is the most heinous, cruel and inhuman form of religious conversion."

Jain also released a list of more than 400 cases, registered by police in various states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala and Delhi over the past 10 years, and alleged that all these cases were related to 'love jihad'.

"They are just tip of the iceberg as they are not even 10 per cent of the total incidents of love jihad," he claimed.

The VHP leader said the role of social organizations, along with the government, is "very important in mitigating" such a situation.

"In view of the scenario, we are announcing the launch of the VHP's nationwide Jan Jagran Abhiyan today," he said.

Jain said a total of seven states have anti-conversion laws but they are not enough to deal with the menace of illegal conversion and love jihad across the country.

"Cases of love jihad have come to light because of some states having anti-conversion laws. There is a strong need for enactment of a stringent central law to check love jihad and illegal religious conversions in the country," he said, appealing to the Union government to consider bringing such a law.  

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