India’s ruling party invents a Muslim plot against Hindu women

THE ORGANISER, an English-language weekly that is a mouthpiece for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the century-old flagship of India’s swelling armada of Hindu nationalist groups, is in no doubt about the dangers of “love jihad”. The luring of good Hindu girls into marriage and conversion is only the first phase of a broader Muslim plot, asserts a recent article. The second stage is rape jihad, “a more unequivocal operation in which non-Muslim girls or women are raped and subsequently killed in many cases”. The third and final stage? Mass rape and ethnic cleansing.

Such ravings are not confined to the fringes of politics. Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu priest whose day job is running Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, proclaimed in October that those who practise “love jihad” should mend their ways or plan their funerals. So far five Indian states, all ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have enacted or are considering laws against love jihad. On November 17th, for instance, the government of Madhya Pradesh announced a “Freedom of Religion” bill. This would punish any form of matrimonial trickery for the purpose of conversion to Islam with five years in prison.

The spectre of “our” innocent womanhood being preyed upon by “their” boys is not new. Hindu nationalists depict the long period of...

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