Shimla, January 11
Despite the claims made by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that a large number of forcible conversions of Hindu girls under ‘love jihad’ were taking place in Himachal, the police figures of such cases in the past five years indicates that there were just six such cases, out of which two were with girls’ consent.
Interestingly, the number of cases registered against Hindu boys for allegedly kidnapping Muslim girls is also five.
Out of this, four cases of alleged kidnapping have been registered in Kangra district and one in Kullu.
It was earlier this week that Rajni Thukral, North Zone Sanyojika of Durga Vahini, the women’s wing of the VHP, had alleged that there were more than 200 cases in Himachal, where Hindu girls had been enticed by Muslim youth and in some cases kidnapped and dumped later.
The VHP’s claims of over 200 such cases, yet to be substantiated by the right wing organisation, have, however, sown the seeds of a ‘love jihad’ debate in a state which has never had any history of communal tension.
“Considering social stigma attached with such forcible marriages, followed by conversion, neither parents nor families like reporting it to the police. Efforts are made at personal level to sort out the mess and bring back the girl,” said Aman Puri, vice-president of Himachal VHP.
He said there were almost 15 cases which had come to his notice in the past one year, where Hindu girls had been enticed and later forced into converting.
State BJP president Satpal Singh Satti was very candid in admitting that no such case of forcible marriage or conversion had come to his notice, while stating that marriage was a very personal affair provided it was not done forcefully.
“There are total six such cases registered in the districts of Mandi, Chamba, Kangra, Kullu and Sirmaur. In two cases in Sirmour and Chamba, girls had made a statement that they had married out of choice and there was no pressure on them,” Sanjay Kundu, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Law and Order said.
He said there was no report of any Bangladesh national residing in Himachal.
Kundu said the police had constituted a special investigation team to trace a girl from Jogindernagar in Mandi, who had called up home to inform that she had been kidnapped by a Muslim youth and was residing in Rajasthan, though the boy hailed from Poonch.
In another case, a Hindu girl from Paonta Sahib had approached the Punjab and Haryana court seeking protection from her family as she had married a Muslim youth from Yamunanagar.
Puri said the VHP was not against such marriages, but against forcible conversion.
The VHP, however, maintained that it would provide the exact details of such alleged enticement and kidnapping cases of Hindu girls, which were on the rise in HP.
Shimla, January 11