Protest in Bengaluru against proposed ‘love jehad’ laws of BJP governments

Published : December 02, 2020 16:04 IST

At a protest meeting in Bengaluru against the proposed laws against 'love jehad'. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Around 200 people gathered at the Mysore Bank Circle in Bengaluru on December 1 to protest against the laws against ‘love jehad” that various BJP-ruled States, including Karnataka, propose to enact. (Uttar Pradesh has already issued an ordinance.) Members of various progressive organisations in Karnataka, including those representing Muslims, Dalits, women, transgenders, sex workers and sexual minorities groups participated in the protest.

The protesters held placards that read: ‘Love is No Crime! Stop Hatred’, ‘Preettisuvudu Namma Hakku’ (‘To Love is Our Right) and ‘Condemn the Communal Law’. Vinay Sreenivasa, a lawyer associated with the Alternative Law Forum and one of the organisers of the protest, said: “In February 2020, the Central government announced in Parliament that there were no instances of love jehad in the country. This law which is being brought into force now is meant to spread lies and create fear among people. In particular, these laws are an assault on the citizenship rights of Muslims and an instrument to further fuel hatred against the community. Let’s choose love, not hate.”

As this event was also intended to be a ‘celebration of love’, the participants sang, danced and read poetry at the venue—a busy thoroughfare in central Bengaluru. The Kannada song “Preetiya Gaali Beesuthide” (“The winds of love are wafting”), which is an ode to forbidden love, was sung with gusto.

Madhu Bhushan, a women’s rights activist who was present at the protest, said: “The proposed law on love jehad is fundamentally wrong at different levels. It is an assault on the constitutional right of every citizen to choose a partner of his choice. It is also a clear attempt at criminalising Muslims whose very existence in this country is under threat and, most fundamentally, it is sending out a message that the ruling patriarchs of this country are taking back control of women’s bodies, which, as ‘the father of the Hindu nation’ Manu, and indeed the patriarchs of all major religions have decreed, have to be vested with the men in their lives.”

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