The executive committee of BJP in Karnataka on Saturday decided to urge the state government to introduce a law to ban 'love jihad' and stringent measures to ban cow slaughter in the state as early as possible. Speaking to reporters after the state executive committee meeting in Belagavi, BJP state President Nalin Kumar Kateel said, "Keeping in view our firm commitment to protecting our culture and Indianness, the committee has passed these two resolutions unanimously."
In response to a question, Nalin Kumar Kateel said that the two separate bills to ban cow slaughter and 'love jihad' are most likely to be placed in the forthcoming legislative session. A week-long legislative session is slated to start from Monday.
It must be noted that the term âlove jihadâ does not exist in the Indian laws and is a mere idea or bogey propagated by right-wing groups, claiming that men from the Muslim community are marrying women from other religious faiths, particularly Hindu women, and forcing them to convert to Islam.
Nalin Kumar Kateel claimed that Hindu women are being lured in the name of love and are forced to convert to other religions. "We want this to stop. Therefore, we will bring the most stringent law to ban love jihad," he said. Incidentally, no official case has been registered in Karnataka so far.
The Opposition led by former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has contended that there is no proof for the existence of 'love jihad'.
In November, taking a cue from Uttar Pradesh government, several BJP ladders in Karnataka said it would introduce laws to ban âlove jihadâ, claiming that interfaith marriages resulted in forced religious conversion of the woman. Apart from Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka and BJP National General Secretary and Karnataka Tourism Minister CT Ravi pushed for introducing such a law.
Incidentally, a week after the law to stop unlawful conversion came into being in Uttar Pradesh, the Lucknow police stopped a wedding between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man on December 2, citing the âlove jihadâ law. The police action was based on the complaint of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, which is a right-wing youth outfit founded by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
âCannot keep eyes closed to cow slaughterâ
Nalin Kumar Kateel further said that âcow is no less than a mother to the Hindusâ, and the BJP âcannot keep its eyes closedâ when thousands of cows are slaughtered in the state.
In Karnataka, the ban on cow slaughter is currently as per the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation, 1964. This marks certain distinctions â it allows slaughter of bulls, bullocks and male-buffaloes while it bans the slaughter and sale of cows, calves and she-buffaloes. It further allows the slaughter of female buffaloes above the age of 12 or no longer fit for breeding or cannot give milk.
In 2010, when the BJP was in power in the state, the party wanted to widen the scope of this ban through a fresh bill introduced in 2010. But the Congress government led by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah withdrew it in 2013 when it was pending before the President for assent. Siddaramaiah also termed the legislation 'draconian'.
In 2019, when the BJP returned to power in Karnataka, party leaders decided to renew discussions about reintroducing the bill.
On Saturday, addressing the executive committee meeting, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, too, had announced that the ruling party is ready to bring these two laws in the upcoming legislative session. He said that in his 16-month tenure as the CM, he has steadfastly tried his best to implement various programmes based on the party's ideologies. "I have remained faithful to the party's ideology and never deviated from it," he said.