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Beware of 'love jihad', Kerala's Christian council warns its flock

July 20, 2012 13:17 IST

The Christian community in Kerala has expressed its concern about 'love jihad' which, according to the Global Council of Indian Christians, has 'victimised' 2,868 women so far.

The latest case of 'love jihad' concerns a Christian woman from Kochi, who left her husband and married the driver of a school bus. She was later arrested for allegedly supplying SIM cards to Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Thadiyantavide Nazir, who is currently in prison.

Dr Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, says that the woman -- Deepa Cheriyan -- converted to Islam and took up the name Shahina. Deepa, whose husband was posted in Middle East, started having an affair with Naushad, who was working as a driver.

When she came to India, she came with two SIM cards and allegedly provided them to Nasir. Deepa Cheriyan alias Shahina was arrested in Kochi on Wednesday by a police team led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Sunil Jacob.

Dr George believes that Deepa, like many others, is a victim of 'love jihad'. WikiLeaks has published a report by United States diplomats that stated, 'Both Hindu and Christian groups have expressed fear and outrage at the plot, while Muslim groups have felt the need to defend their co-religionists against the conspiracy theorists'.

The report said, 'The Commission for Social Harmony and Vigilance of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council had reported that there had been 2,868 female victims of love jihad in Kerala between 2006 and 2009. The panel had made several recommendations to parents through its newsletter, including a recommendation to monitor children's cell-phones and computers, so that they can be better prepared to fight the phenomenon and resist charming young Muslim men involved in the scheme'. 

The Kerala high court had also taken note of the matter and asked the police to investigate the cases of two college-going girls, who were allegedly forced to convert to Islam after marrying Muslim men. Some police officials, political leaders and prominent members of both Hindu and Christian communities continue to suspect that 'forced conversions', backed by foreign funds, was rampant in the state.

The cable, as disclosed by WikiLeaks, said that Sajan George was convinced that 'there was a concerted effort in south India by some Muslim men to get Christian women to fall in love with them in order to convert them'. 

According to the police in Kerala, in most cases of 'love jihad', the victims are merely used as pawns in criminal activities. Many of the victims have no idea what they are getting into and often get into lured by the young men. But the police also point out that only some -- not all -- of the nearly 2,000 recorded cases of conversion are a result of 'love jihad'.

Vicky Nanjappa