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Is 'Love Jihad' terror's new mantra?

October 14, 2009 17:28 IST
Kerala and coastal Karnataka have been witnessing a strange kind of jihad, which has even drawn the attention of a high court. This jihad has been termed as 'love jihad'. At first, these were just random instances of conversion. Now with the Kerala Catholic Bishop's Conference stepping in, it has taken a serious turn.

Love jihad is a concept in which a man lures a girl with love and then forces her to convert.

Reports suggest that there have been at least 4,500 such conversions in Kerala and the bordering coastal belt of Mangalore. Police officials in both Kerala and Mangalore say they are looking into complaints that the 'love jihadis' are part of an international syndicate or a terror wing.

Meanwhile, a petition has been filed before the Kerala high court seeking its intervention in the matter. The high court has directed the police to investigate the matter and find out whether this has any national and international ramifications. The high court has also issued a similar directive to the Union home ministry.

This issue is also being taken up very strongly by the KCBC. In an article written in the KCBC newsletter, Father Johny Kochuparambil states that there is a need to create awareness about 'love jihad', and that young girls should be educated so that they are not lured into this.

Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say while they do not have anything to show that 'love jihad' is part of an international terrorist network, there was a directive from the Laskhar-e-Tayiba to its cadres to start building rapport with women in order to carry out attacks in India.

The IB says the matter cannot be taken lightly as the Lashkar is trying to rebuild its bases in Kerala and Mangalore, after a major chunk of its modules in the country were busted.

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru