How a ‘love jihad’ case was manufactured in India’s Uttar Pradesh

by | Jul 26, 2022 | World

Muzaffarnagar, India – In June last year, authorities in the district of Muzaffarnagar in north India’s Uttar Pradesh state arrested a 22-year-old Muslim man on charges of fraud, sexual assault and forced religious conversion.Officials claimed the complainant was Amandeep Kaur, a 24-year-old Sikh woman from the man’s neighbourhood.
Constituting nearly 1.7 percent of its population, India is home to the largest number of Sikhs in the world. Despite repeated attempts by Hindu supremacist groups to club the community under a wider Hindu umbrella, the Sikhs maintain they are an independent religion.
“It was a case of love; they turned it into something called ‘love jihad’,” Kaur told Al Jazeera as she locked the doors of the small house she shared with her parents.
“Love jihad” is a term used by the Hindu political and religious right to describe an alleged phenomenon where Muslim men lure Hindu women into marrying them and converting to Islam. Hindu groups claim, without evidence, it is a conspiracy of an organised racket.
A year after her relationship with Usman Qureshi became a public spectacle, Kaur today fears unknown faces – the media or anybody offering to “help”. But she reiterates she is not a victim – Qureshi was her consensual partner for more than two years.
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The couple’s ordeal began in October …

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