Right-wing extremist leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday addressed BJP election rallies in Kerala, blaming the state government for not implementing the Love Jihad prohibition law in Kerala. Describing the implementation of the Act in his state as an outstanding administrative achievement, Yogi accused the Kerala government of not making it illegal despite the seriousness accorded to it by the courts. The BJP election campaigns in Kerala mainly focus on agenda that incite religious and communal sentiments like Love jihad, Sabarimala, and Sri Ram temple. It does not seem to disturb the BJP in the slightest that despite all its communalism, they haven't made much gain in Kerala. They are experimenting again and again whether undiluted communalism can be sold to the publicwhen the fact is that the BJP cannot confront the elections grounded on people's issues.
It is understandable that extremists like Yogi Adityanath play divisive strategies like the 'Love Jihad' card. However, it is it is a matter of grave concern that secular fronts are not coming forward to expose and counter this. Yogi has directly criticised the Kerala government on 'Love Jihad', but neither the Chief Minister nor the CPI(M) leadership has yet responded to this. There are numerous studies that show how the accusations of 'love jihad' are hollow and baseless. The high court has also affirmed this. Under instructions from the Kerala High Court, all the district police chiefs conducted investigations, and the state police chief had compiled these reports and submitted them before the high court. Following the Hadiya case and the Supreme Court's directions, the NIA too had investigated all such cases. On the whole, 'Love Jihad' is a baseless allegation that has been rejected by the courts and investigations agencies of the state and centre. Even the Union Ministry of Home Affairs - under the BJP- had informed the parliament in writing that there is no phenomenon called 'love jihad'. However, the Sangh Parivar leadership still shamelessly is repeating the same refrain.
Again, the reasons and motives of the Sangh Parivar stirring up Love Jihad are understandable. But it is indeed shocking that Jose K Mani, leader of an ally of Kerala's professedly secular, progressive Front, the LDF, raised the issue of Love Jihad ahead of the state assembly elections. Following Mani's statement, Kerala Catholic Bishops' Conference (KCBC) also came to the fore with allegations of Love Jihad. The aim behind such allegations is to generate animosity and prejudice towards the Muslim community and thereby gather votes from other communities. It is lamentable that an LDF leader has triggered this.
More serious than Jose K Mani bringing up 'love jihad' is the CM and leader of the LDF Pinarayi Vijayan's stance on it. If the LDF's official position is that 'love jihad' is an RSS agenda, why did he not reject or dismiss Mani? Instead, when asked about it at a press meet, the CM's response was that he did not know of the issue, which is difficult for anyone to believe. What would have made him choose such a position? That, too, has a definite political motive. The CPM has recently taken the approach of creating a Christian-Muslim divide to reap political benefits. It should be added that Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was the first political leader to raise the issue of Hagia Sofia in Kerala. Their attempt at creating rifts between the Christian-Muslim communities to reap votes did let them make some small gains in the local body polls. They are trying the same in the assembly elections. The silence towards Jose K Mani's and Yogi Adityanath's statements on 'love jihad' compels one to believe so. Does none of them understand that this game is highly dangerous to the entire social fabric of Kerala society?