BSP president Mayawati on Monday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to reconsider the new anti-conversion law as it is full of "doubts and apprehensions", prompting a quick response from the newly elected BJP MP and former head of state's SC/ST commission, Brijlal who claimed that majority of those becoming victims of love jihad belong to the Dalit and backward castes.
"The ordinance on love jihad brought by the UP government in a hurry is full of doubts and apprehensions. There is neither any recognition, nor acceptability to conversion through force or deceit in the country. There are many laws already effective in this regard. The government needs to reconsider the new law," Mayawati said in a tweet in Hindi.
Her remarks come after Uttar Pradesh registered its first case under the new law in Bareilly district based on a complaint from the father of a young woman.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said a case was registered on the complaint by Tikaram who accused a man -- Uvaish Ahmed -- of the same village of trying to convert his daughter through "allurement" (bahla-phuslaakar).
In a prompt rejoinder, BJP MP Brijlal in a series of tweets said, "Mayawatiji, do you know that mostly the Dalit, backward and most backward castes have become a victim of love jihad? Do these castes not have the right to live with respect? Tell me who are you with.”
In another tweet, he said, "Most of the Dalits, oppressed and most backward caste people have not only lost their original religion but also their existence is at risk. Is it a crime to provide security to these people?”
Questioning Mayawati', he said that daughters coming from Dalit and backward castes of the state are mostly the targets of love jihad, and instead of talking about their rights who was she supporting?
In another tweet, Brijlal said, "Mayawatiji it has been seen that in most of the cases of love jihad, girls belonging to the Dalit and backward castes have become victims, the section of society you consider yourself to be the messiah of. Explain who are you with."
"Love jihad" is a coinage used by right-wing activists to refer to the alleged campaign of Muslims forcing Hindu girls to convert in the guise of love.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has already said that his party will oppose the state government's bill on religious conversions when placed in the assembly for passage.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel on Saturday gave assent to an ordinance against forcible or fraudulent religious conversions that provides for imprisonment up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 under different categories.
The promulgation of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, came four days after the Yogi Adityanath government approved the draft of the legislation which also curbs religious conversions only for the sake of marriage.
Under the law which deals with different categories of offences, a marriage will be declared "null and void" if the conversion of a woman is solely for that purpose, and those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to apply to the district magistrate.