Days after BJP leaders advocated a separate law to check ‘love jihad’ cases in Gujarat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Saturday said the state government would “see when the time comes” about the need for framing such legislation.
Party’s MLA from Dabhoi assembly constituency Shailesh Mehta alias Sotta and Bharuch MP Mansukh Vasava have recently written to the CM seeking laws to check “enticement of Hindu girls” by “a certain minority community”.
“The issue (of ‘love jihad’) is being discussed in various states, so it is natural for such discussions to occur here. When the time comes, we will see,” Rupani said. He was speaking on the sidelines of a Kisan Sammelan at Karamsad in Anand district organised as a part of the BJP’s campaign to create awareness about the three contentious farm laws.
The remarks come days after an interfaith marriage triggered tension in Vadodara. The couple, both aged 23, had registered in a ‘nikahnama’ at a masjid in Mumbai after eloping earlier in December. When they returned to Vadodara on December 16 night, they had approached the Karelibaug police station over “threats” and palpable tension in their neighbourhood. The police counselled the couple and their families, and asked the couple to stay at their respective homes for a few days “to prevent law and order crisis”. Over Thursday and Friday, several BJP leaders, including MP Ranjan Bhatt, MLA Seema Mohile, party’s city president Dr Vijay Shah and former mayor Sunil Solanki met the woman and “counselled” her to call off the marriage.
On December 3, Vasava had also written to Rupani to look into the issue of alleged “sale and purchase” of tribal girls within the state as prospective partners for men from districts where the sex ratio is skewed.
BJP’s state unit president CR Paatil, who was in Vadodara to attend a social event, however, denied there was a demand for a law against ‘love jihad’ from the state BJP. “It is wrong to say that the party is demanding such a law. One or two elected representatives may have voiced their personal opinion to the chief minister. They have not given me any such memorandum for the party to look into. It is a matter of the state government and they will look into it,” Paatil said.
The state BJP chief said there have been incidents where girls of one community have been “enticed” by men from other communities. “If anyone does it with any wrong motive or for the purpose of religious conversion, then there should be a law to curb such practice,” he said.
Paatil, who was on his maiden visit to Vadodara city after being appointed the BJP’s state unit president, held a closed-door meeting with party leaders ahead of the upcoming local and civic body polls.