In what could redraw the fault lines in Kerala’s bipolar politics, National Commission for Minorities (NCM) vice-chairman George Kurian has alleged that there are many cases of organised conversion of Christian women not into Islam but Islamic terrorism.
In some cases, he maintained, they were “used as courier for terror activities”.
“Love jihad is on, and it has been continuing in the state for a while. Here conversion is not into Islam, but into terrorism. Even the Muslim community is objecting to it,” Kurian, who has written to Home Minister Amit Shah seeking a probe by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) and to bring in a law to curb such conversions, told The Indian Express on Wednesday.
In his letter to Shah, Kurian has cited the case of a Malayali Christian woman from Delhi who was abducted to a West Asian country. He stated that her parents have expressed fear that she could have been misled or cheated of brainwashed or abducted and led astray with very “nefarious designs” such as joining an outfit such as the Islamic State (IS) or being used as a slave.
On Wednesday, Kurian said the Ministry of External Affairs has got in touch with her family to take up the matter.
Kurian wrote that “fears expressed by the parents are not misplaced, given experiences in earlier similar cases”.
Kerala had earlier seen several complaints from Hindutva outfits about Hindu women allegedly being brainwashed into marriage with Muslim men, and the NIA had probed a few cases of interfaith marriages after several marriages were brought to the notice of law enforcement agencies by parents of couples. The NIA failed to find any evidence of coercion into marriage in any case.
Sources said the issue of conversion, which has worried the Kerala church leadership and in the community, could be utilised by BJP, which is keen on constructing a social coalition of Christians and Hindus in a state where the party is yet to make deep electoral inroads. Christian and Muslim minorities constitute nearly half the state’s population.
In his letter, Kurian referred to another incident in Kozhikode district, where a Christian college student was allegedly raped “after her juice was laced with sedatives”. He wrote, “The act was also filmed to blackmail the victim to get her to convert to Islam; when she refused, an attempt was made to abduct her from the hostel…”
Kurian on Wednesday said the police have arrested the main accused in this case.
“The Kerala Catholic Bishops Conference’s Commission for Social Harmony and Vigilance had launched a campaign against the ‘social evil’ in its publication in Jagrata,” he wrote to Shah. Quoting the Commission, he stated. “It’s shocking that around 4000 girls have been subjected to religious conversion since 2005 (and until 2012) after they fell in love”.
According to Kurian, another study has found that more than 2,600 women were converted to Islam between 2006 and 2009. He said he got reports that around 40 or 50 of these women were from Kozhikode district.
“…It was found that in most cases the victims were brainwashed and in some cases they were used as courier for terror activities. Many a time victims’ families refuse to come and report the issue fearing threat…” he said.