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Beti Bachao, Bahu Lao campaign of Hindu Jagran Manch aims at getting over 2100 Muslim girls in UP married to Hindu men to counter ‘love jihad’ by Muslim men

In an obnoxious drive aimed at spreading fear and hatred against the Muslim community, Hindu Jagran Manch – an affiliate of BJP’s parent organisation the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – is planning a statewide ‘reverse love jihad’ campaign across Uttar Pradesh. The campaign, titled Beti Bachao, Bahu Lao aims to get at least 2100 Muslim girls of the state married to Hindu men.

Coming at a time when the Supreme Court is presiding over a case related to the infamous ‘Kerala Love Jihad’ case – in which the marriage of a Hindu girl Akhila Asokan aka Hadiya to a Muslim man, Shafin Jahan has attracted the ire Akhila’s father and the Hindu right-wing who claim the marriage was a case of Hadiya’s entrapment by Shafin.

Both Hadiya and Shafin have constantly maintained that they married of their own will. However, several radical Hindu outfits are bent on ‘proving’ that the marriage was a case of ‘love jihad’ – a recent phenomenon coined by the Hindu fringe to allege that Hindu women were being trapped into love and marriage by Muslim men who would then force the women to convert to Islam and radicalise them.

According to a report in the Indian Express, the Hindu Jagran Manch – known for fomenting communal trouble in the past and for spreading hatred against the Muslim community – plans to begin its reverse love jihad campaign across UP next week. There is no word as yet on whether the BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government, under chief minister Yogi Adityanath, would condone or oppose the move although the saffron party and Adityanath himself have in the past spoken against “rising cases of love jihad” by Muslims in India.

The name of the Hindu Jagran Manch’s campaign – Beti Bachao, Bahu Lao – is in itself a corruption of a pet project of the BJP – the Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao drive – which Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeatedly refers to while claiming that his government is working for women empowerment.

The idea behind the ‘reverse love jihad’ campaign of the Hindu Jagran Manch is worrisome to say the least. Though the outfit’s leaders claim that their Beti Bachao, Bahu Lao campaign would not require for the Muslim bride to convert to Hinduism, they also profess that it would “help curb India’s Muslim population” because the initiative would bring Muslim women into the Hindu faith and so their children will only add to the Hindu population!

Ajju Chauhan, UP-unit chief of the Hindu Jagran Manch told reporters about the campaign: “Only Hindu girls are being targeted by Muslim youths in love jihad. They hide their Muslim identity, wear sacred threat on wrists, tilak on forehead and even recite Hanuman Chalisa to trap Hindu girls”, while asserting that his outfit’s campaign was to “reverse the trend of love jihad by Muslims”.

In an utterly obtuse argument but one that is a reiteration of an old thought pushed by the RSS and BJP leadership against India’s Muslim community, Chauhan said: “If a Muslim girl is married into a Muslim family, she will have to deliver 10 children and when these children grow up they will speak against Hindus.”

Explaining how his outfit’s Beti Bachao, Bahu Lao campaign will curb population of Muslims from growing in India, Chauhan said: “If a Muslim girl is married into a Hindu family, she will not have to deliver 10 children… she will be an addition to the Hindu population.”

It may be recalled that in 2016, the Hindu Jagran Manch had launched a ‘save Hindu girl’ campaign in UP under which its leaders planned to hold classes to “educate” young Hindu boys and girls about the “ill-effects” of marrying a Muslim. The campaign was executed at schools run or supported by the RSS. The Hindu Jagran Manch had also distributed pamphlets that laid out an advisory for Hindu girls which listed directives like – “Check your suitor’s voter or Aadhaar card to ascertain his religion”, “Take him to a ‘mandir’ and see whether he accepts ‘prasad’ or not”, among many others.

Evidently, with a BJP government both at the Centre and in UP, the Hindu Jagran Manch feels more emboldened to carry out what is a blatantly communal agenda and one which would spread hatred against the Muslim community.

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