‘Love jihad’ gets a Bengal reply: Bahu lao, Beti bachao, ‘purify’ Muslim brides

In areas where BJP is making gains, Hindu groups help convert Muslim women so they can marry Hindu men.

Written by Madhuparna Das | Kolkata | Updated: March 13, 2015 8:58 am
Rebeka Khatun is now Meenakshi Naskar in Lakshminarayanpur, South 24 Parganas. (Express Photo by: Subham Dutta) Rebeka Khatun is now Meenakshi Naskar in Lakshminarayanpur, South 24 Parganas. (Express Photo by: Subham Dutta)

The din over the ‘ghar wapsi’ reconversion campaign in the north and west may have dropped many decibels after Prime Minister Narendra Modi underlined “the undeniable right” of an individual’s choice of religion. But in the east, the RSS and its affiliates are experimenting with another conversion programme — where, instead of hounding a Hindu-Muslim couple, they are actively facilitating their union. The only condition: the bride, in this case, is a Muslim who becomes a Hindu after a “suddhikaran” (purification) programme.

Also read: Sabina to Nandini, Kashmira to Kavita, Rukaiya to Rumpa…

In West Bengal, especially in districts where the BJP has made significant electoral gains — at the expense of a crumbling Left and Congress — the Hindutva brotherhood, from Vishwa Hindu Parishad to Hindu Samhati, Hindu Jagran Manch to Bharat Sevashram Sangha, have stepped up a campaign they call “Bahu lao, Beti bachao” (bring a daughter-in-law, save a daughter), saying this is their answer to “love jihad.”

In sharp contrast to their hounding of Hindu woman-Muslim man couples, these groups actively “shelter, arrange” the marriage of Hindu man-Muslim woman couples.

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Over two months, The Indian Express travelled through South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Howrah and Birbhum — the rise of the BJP in these areas has coincided with the spread of this campaign — and met several couples who openly credit the Hindu groups for their marriage.

VHP leader Badal Das, who is in charge of his organisation’s role in the campaign, estimates that at least 500 Muslim and Christian women have “become Hindus through marriage” in the last one year.

All women have adopted Hindu names and their families have been “advised” to join the BJP for their “own safety”.

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Hindu Samhati chief Tapan Ghosh said they were “fighting the menace called love jihad… Muslim boys trap Hindu girls into marriage… our effort is to rescue the victims of love jihad and bring Muslim girls to Hindu homes”.

Achintya Biswas, Jadavpur University professor who heads the VHP golden jubilee celebrations committee, said: “If a Hindu boy can reconvert a Muslim girl to Hinduism, it is considered a pious act. We want to break this trend of a Hindu girl getting married to a Muslim boy.”

One such woman who had to undergo “suddhikaran” to become a Hindu is 21-year-old Rebeka Khatun, now Meenakshi Naskar. She lives in Lakshminarayanpur, South 24 Parganas.

She does not respond immediately if you call out Renu, her nickname, or Meenakshi. She was given these names by her husband’s parents and the Hindu Samhati which arranged her marriage to Madhumangal Naskar last year. They married “after one year of courtship”.

Also read: Meet the Parivar behind these marriages

Madhumangal’s father, Haradhan Chandra Naskar, did not object. He and his family joined the BJP. Her father, Mosaraf Sheikh, was also told to join the party for the “safety and security” of the couple.

“I was told to convert to Hinduism if I wanted to marry him. I eloped since my community would have never allowed a Muslim girl to marry a Hindu boy. Madhumangal approached the Hindu Samhati. They assured us they would settle everything if I converted to Hinduism. I agreed,” she said.

Capture“We were kept in a shelter in Kolkata by the Hindu Samhati. After a few months, I came here. I declared myself a Hindu and submitted an affidavit. His parents organised a ‘havan’ for my ‘suddhikaran’ (purification). I married him as per Hindu rituals,” she said.

Father-in-law Haradhan, the village healer, said: “I asked her father to remain on good terms with the BJP. I was a member of SUCI but I am now in the BJP. Her father comes to meet her at night since others in the village might not approve.”

Father Mosaraf Sheikh said: “Initially, we resisted. But my daughter eloped and embraced Hinduism. She is happy now.”

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  1. A
    arindam mukhejee
    Sep 23, 2016 at 3:44 pm
    All the news are fake provoked by others and if it is true then nothing wrong is done these conversions have been done to hindus for centuries now it is the correct time, place thanks hindu samhati samaj
    Reply
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      Beeraj
      Jan 1, 2016 at 2:50 am
      We must stop religious invaders who already took large portions of our land which are now proclaimed to belong to other religions and Hinduism is suppressed.
      Reply
      1. B
        Beeraj
        Jan 1, 2016 at 2:54 am
        What is not found in Hinduism is found nowhere. In the vast Hinduism religion, you also have Vedic branch where there is no cult! By the way, if there is any defect with a father (like religion) we change the defect, not the father!
        Reply
        1. B
          Beeraj
          Jan 1, 2016 at 2:41 am
          When a Muslim from Indian subcontinent converts to Hinduism, there is nothing wrong because it is simply a return to the ancestral religion. To remind that the ancestors were forced to convert to Islam which came through invaders. To add that it is unfair that the land where Islam originated accepts no religion other than Islam while people of that religion fight for (more) rights in lands of other religions. One of the rights is to marry several times which is understood to bring women from other religions given that Islam accepts marriage with people of other religions with the condition that the person converts to Islam.
          Reply
          1. J
            jitendra nath
            Feb 2, 2016 at 1:46 pm
            Can you help me any body love jihad,9088012531,Name -Moumita Lohara From Holdia,tek this school sk salim 23rd Jan 2016
            Reply
            1. J
              jitendra nath
              Feb 2, 2016 at 1:55 pm
              Moumita Lohara Age 17 year,this is love Jihad, but moumit famaley is very poor,our hindu bhai please help,holdia polices not tek aey axtion,agenst sk salim,bhaio homara hindu behon or beti ko a log jobor dosti utha letey hai or hom log mutak tey rohtey,moumita key ghar waley kuch bolnehi payenge is ley ki agar kuch baley to uskey chota bhaio ko mardiya jaye ga,moumita jast uskey fameley ka dor se kesiko kuch nehi bol pa rohi hai,
              Reply
              1. P
                Peter Peter
                Jan 20, 2016 at 11:54 am
                As a Israeli-American-Indian mixed Jew - I totally support this great movement by my Hindu Brothers and Sisters. Keep up the great work. Reconvert Reconvert Reconvert and also Convert Arabs etc. We are doing same in Israel by reconverting Palestinians to Judaism. Wish you all the best dear Hindu friends.
                Reply
                1. R
                  ryan
                  Jun 28, 2016 at 6:29 pm
                  dude your ansisters were raped by muslims and hence here you are
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    ryan
                    Jun 28, 2016 at 6:26 pm
                    tell me what to do
                    Reply
                    1. C
                      CMVikram
                      Mar 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm
                      I came to know through reliable sources that many Muslim girls want to marry Hindu boys. They are doing so to save themselves from the humiliating experience of being a second, third or fourth wife of a man. These girls should be brought back to our fold. Those boys who take the courage to marry these girls should be commended, honored and rewarded. This will save Bengal as well as India. Thanks guys.
                      Reply
                      1. H
                        Haradhan Mandal
                        Mar 13, 2015 at 11:48 am
                        Can you make one incident - one BIG generalization and the CONCLUSION? Per article - "They married “after one year of courtship” ! People are marrying outside castes - outside religions and outside culture, specially where people live together for centuries peacefully. Don't give its HELPFUL spin at the hand of MISCHIEF MONGERS.Let them ( M M) encourage and porize inter caste marriages FIRST (within Hindu fold) and save lower castes from caste-based atrocities and discrimination. You won't find THEM there doing that anywhere in India!
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          Shafi Ahmed
                          Mar 13, 2015 at 11:57 am
                          Hindu extremists of BJP accuse Muslims of conspiracy and forcible conversion as 'love jihad' without any proof (as usual) but they r now openly helping such marriages and conversions.Good to see them exposed!
                          Reply
                          1. V
                            Vivek Achar
                            Mar 13, 2015 at 5:46 pm
                            If the couple are Happy then fine. Does not matter If the girl/boy get converted on their own choice. Just need to make sure that no forcible conversion is happening.
                            Reply
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                              Abbas Ali
                              Mar 13, 2015 at 9:44 pm
                              This thing will not last. It looks good on paper, but in real life, things are not so easy. This fad will go sooner than expected. There is no such thing as love jihad. No muslim in his right mind would bother with this. There is no compulsion or a sense of urgency to convert people to Islam. Once in a blue moon, a couple of different religions elope and get married and the girl or boy adopts the religion of the partner. This happens both ways. Let them marry whoever they want. Why should the Hindu or Muslim be bothered? They have made their choice so be it.
                              Reply
                              1. A
                                Asma
                                Mar 13, 2015 at 6:35 am
                                Seriously, indian express can't find anything else to report? What's the great news in this. You only want to intice religious tensions in the area
                                Reply
                                1. A
                                  Abhishek Nag
                                  Mar 14, 2015 at 2:35 am
                                  Indian Express is spreading hatred, if people are converting to hinduism, then its per article 25 of the consution and self right, Hindus has been tortured, raped and murdered, 1 million hindus were killed from 1962-71 in Bangladesh. Indian express should raise voice for minorities in stan and bangladesh, rather then always being racist towards hindus.
                                  Reply
                                  1. S
                                    sunny
                                    Mar 13, 2015 at 4:57 am
                                    it is MONEY that counts all these women who are converting are from poor family in other words rss and vhp are buying girls and women
                                    Reply
                                    1. A
                                      Amitabh Awasthy
                                      Mar 13, 2015 at 7:39 pm
                                      We are living in dangerous times. As I see the situation today, it is getting scary and is looking more and more like pre parion times. If the nation keeps heading on this course and we keep alking more and more about religeon--we are heading for a disaster and it could well be yet another parion of our country on religeous lines. Its better we shun such kind of perverse discourse.
                                      Reply
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                                        amnesty
                                        Mar 16, 2015 at 8:34 am
                                        'Bahu Lao' ,means,bring a slave to serve the in-Laws. In this ,obviously,a conversion to a Hindu Family. What a subversive regressive oppression of the Minority Muslim poor. The following harment of the innocent girl would be inexcusable if promulgated through the strictures of Hindutva Cohorts with the blessings of Modi Alliance partners. In the Land of Raja Ram Mohan Roy this would consute perpetuation of 'SATI' that had to be abolished through the backing of a Brit Lord William Bentinck. Test of Secularism in India is in the Hands of Modi. What will it be?
                                        Reply
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                                          Anand Nair
                                          Apr 8, 2015 at 11:14 am
                                          It's written that Indian Express travelled through some of the districts in Bengal,very brave.....now instead of writing on muslim women converted to hinduism,Why don't you come to kerala,where muslim men trapping hindu girls to convert has become a daily ritual here with the active support of congress govt,left parties etc....,I mean you media guys needs to have one important thing in your body...ie... spine!
                                          Reply
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                                            Anuradha Kalhan
                                            Mar 13, 2015 at 6:41 pm
                                            The last time W Bengal got noticed internationally was because it had implemented land reforms empowering millions of cultivators and now this ?
                                            Reply
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