After more than 100 Facebook profiles of inter-faith couples across the country were listed on social media as examples of ‘love jihad’, a couple, named in the list, has lodged a complaint with the Kolkata police cyber cell after receiving death threats.
The list went viral on Facebook and Twitter in January. “Yeh ek suchi hai un hindu ladkiyonke Facebook profile ki jo love jihad ka shikar ho chuki hain yah ho rahi hain… har Hindu sher se aagrah hai, inme jo ladke hain, unki khoj ke shikaar karein. (This is a list of Facebook profiles of Hindu women who are victims of love jihad… We exhort all Hindu tigers, those men (listed in these profiles), find them and hunt them,” said a post on Hindu Varta, a group on Facebook. The post has since been deleted.
Another post on a group Milan Mela by Biplab Chattopadhyay, who claimed to be a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had stated: “Hindu girls are converting to Islam by Love Jihad…Wake up HINDUS otherwise you will lose your homeland INDIA.”
The couple began receiving death threats and were harassed on social media after the list went viral. “A complaint has been received. We are looking into the matter,” said a senior police officer. According to the couple’s complaint to Kolkata police, “We… Have been targeted by a group of people… We were further subjected to death threats, so far I am aware of, such situation of causing harm to us, and/or spreading hatred in the name of religion are offences under the India Penal Code, 1860. In such view of the matter , you are requested to take immediate steps against such activities.”
“It was on the January 4 that my girlfriend was shocked to find such a list being highlighted by individuals and various groups through social media. She was scared and informed me. Some of the groups called for saving the women, some individuals highlighted couples like us as love jihad in social media,” said the man, who registered the complaint on February 7.
According to him, they were being targeted in an organised way. “Thereafter unknown people, started dropping messages warning my girlfriend about love jihad and not to meet with the person she loves. She blocked some of them but the rest continued. She is now off social media. Someone meticulously searched and made the list of so many couples. There has to be a team behind this,” he said.
The father of another woman whose profile is mentioned in the list told The Indian Express that his cellphone number was listed as well. “I have no clue. My daughter works at a reputed IT company. Let her come home. I will talk about it. If needed we will go to the police,” said the father from North 24 Parganas.
A class XII student’s profile is also in the list. “I do not use social media that much. I am aware that someone put my name and profile with my former boyfriend and called it Love Jihad. I had a relationship for three years but I have broken up with him. I am with someone else now. Will I be harmed?” she said.
Mohammed Sahid and his girlfriend, both are from Burdwan, said the list has scared them. “So far there has not been any harassment. I have seen the list where we are mentioned. I am shocked. She is my friend. Can’t a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl be friends? No one has the right to write about me and my friend like this. This country has so many religions and culture. We may approach the police. We trust the law of the land,” he said.
Chattopadhyay claimed he was a member of the West Bengal VHP. “Many people, hundreds of them shared and forwarded the post and the list. I did it to draw attention to the fact that Hindu women are being lured and later their religion is being changed. When a Hindu man tries to marry a Muslim girl and is killed, no media speaks about it. However, I did not compile the list with profile links I just forwarded it. I am a member of the VHP,” said Chattopadhyay.
While the VHP asserted that ‘love jihad’ was real, the organisation’s spokesperson, Sourish Mukherkjee said, “We are not against love. But this is part of a big conspiracy to destroy Hindu society. However, we are against people taking up law in their hands and we have nothing to do with any list. We will definitely try and find out if our member is one of the people who is circulating such lists.”