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Degrading secularism

Degrading secularism

The Supreme Court recently warned an NGO from giving any communal color to the sensational Meerut gang rape and forced conversion case in western Uttar Pradesh.

The Justice panel headed by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha and consisting of Justices Kurian Joseph and R.F.Nariman, asked the NGO, “Jayati Bharatam” “not to bring religion into the court” saying that India was a “secular” country and that the “Court was concerned only with the law point”. The Court made the observations after it noticed “vague” and objectionable statements in the PIL filed by the NGO, who claims to be serving for the care and upliftment of women in UP. It refused to entertain the petition in present form adding that in Supreme Court, “every word used should be relevant to the matter for adjudication. It cannot be substituted with any other words". The fact that despite the complaint by the NGO, the parents of none of the girls had come forward to complaint is dubious.

The Sangh Parivar was accused of “exploiting the distress” of the woman and playing up the issue using it as a communal propaganda to flare up religious passions. The 20 year old woman from Sarawa filed a complaint against the madrasa authorities for kidnapping, gang raping and forcefully converting her to Islam. She also complained of trafficking of young girls to be married off to Arabs in Gulf countries. The Sangh Parivar entered the scene bringing up the much controversial topic of “love jihad”, an alleged plot to trap Hindu girls into forced conversion and marriage through feigned love or rape. Even as the Sangh Parivar tries hard to label the Meerut case as one of love jihad, the Hindus as well as the Muslims in Sarawa, who had been living in communal harmony for years, wants to get the real culprits punished.

The young woman had joined the madrasa in July 2013 to teach Hindi and English to the students. She had resigned her job in last February to attend her final Degree exams and went missing for four days from July 23. Even after she returned home on 27th, this was not reported to the police by her family. The woman went missing again on 29th and her family reported the matter to the police. It was when she returned on August 3, that she complained of gang rape and forced conversion. The police found no evidence of forced conversion proving that the claims were false. Police reports confirm that the woman had undergone a surgical procedure at the Meerut Medical College hospital on July 23, following an ectopic pregnancy and the consent letter needed for the surgery showed the name of a person, Kaleem and the woman listed as husband and wife. BJP and its sister organizations had apparently, puffed up the issue trying to turn it communal and raising tensions among the communities linking it to love jihad. In this context, the Supreme Court’s observation is commendable. Instead of blowing up such sensitive issues targeting the minorities, the government should be conducting a sincere investigation and punish the real culprits.

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