A nurse in Saudi Arabia Jyotsna Mary Joseph, who is from Kerala, married a Muslim activist of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M) youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) Shejin. The wedding took place after two adults had given consent to it. However, the relatives of Jyotsna alleged that this was a case of love jihad.
The accusation has created a storm of political banters and controversial statements. A senior ruling party member allegedly supported the relatives in the charges levelled by them. But after backlash, he came out with a clarification on his statement and the political party's position on interfaith marriages.
'Love Jihad' is a term used by right-wing extremist groups in India. They claim that the term denotes a Muslim man "luring" women from other communities into romantic relationships and marriages to make them convert their religion to Islam. However, in the said matter, the woman has clearly refuted the claims made by her relatives.
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Love Jihad Kerala: Know 10 Things About The Case
- Jyotsna, who is a nurse, walked out of her family and married Shejin without the consent of her family.
- Jyotsna's relatives levelled allegations that the Christian bride was lured by the man and that it was a case of Love Jihad.
- Her parents had filed a missing person complaint with the police station and alleged that it was a case of 'love jihad.'
- However, they appeared before the Thamarassery court, which has allowed them to live together. The couple denied the allegations and are currently staying in Alappuzha.
- Jyotsna said that she will stick to the freedom of her religion till her death and Sheijin stated that their's was a natural "culmination of their love affair."
- A section of the Christian community including nuns staged protests against the incident in Thiruvambady in Kerala.
- The matter blew up politically after the district secretariat member of CPI (M) and the former MLA George M Thomas supported the allegations, which triggered more debates on social media.
- Post this, the district leadership of the ruling party made Thomas issue a clarification. The Kozhikode district secretary P Mohanan said that the party has never referred to interfaith marriages as love jihad.
- He also told reporters that terms like these are used by RSS and Sangh forces for the purpose of attacking religious minorities. "Marriage is the choice of individuals and the legal system of the country permits adults to get married according to their choice," he said.
- Thomas said that his words were twisted in order to produce desired results for the right-wingers, although he did accept that this has led to unhappiness amongst the Christian community.