The Kerala High Court has said that all interfaith marriages should not be portrayed as ‘love jihad’ or ‘ghar wapsi’. Viewing interfaith marriages in such a light could jeapardise the harmony of the state, said the Kerala HC.

It has ordered police to close centres run by religious fundamentalists that aim to cover those who fall in love with people from other religions. Religious fanatics claim to rescue girls from love jihad. Many Hindus think that people from other religions try to entice women away from their faith.

“We caution that every case of inter-religious marriage shall not be portrayed on a religious canvass and create fissures in the communal harmony otherwise existing in god’s own country, Kerala,” the judgment said

The judgment came on the petition that Anees Hameed had filed after his partner, Sruthi, went missing. Her parents had taken her to a religious centre where she was detained. She was tortured mentally and physically to coax her to leave Anees.

Sruthi married Anees under the Special Marriage Act. Under the Act’s provisions, a couple, no matter what their caste or religious background, can marry without any need for conversion. Sruthi has told the court that she would remain a Hindu and Anees, a Muslim, after marriage.

The judgement said that Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India guarantees every citizen the right to freely profess, practise and propagate any religion, which cannot be trampled upon by subversive forces or religious outfits.

Couples who want to marry under Special Marriage Act have to apply in writing to the marriage officer. The marriage can be conducted after a month and only if no objections are raised. The exact location and time of the marriage has to be publicly known, making it all the more easier for people in the bride and groom’s respective communities to delay the marriage.

It’s time there was more tolerance towards interfaith marriages!

Also Read: Interfaith marriages and the ‘what faith will the children follow’ question

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