Kerala CPI(M) leader says ‘love jihad’ exists in state, later retracts statement

CPI(M) leader George Thomas said this while speaking about an interfaith marriage in Kerala between a Muslim CPI(M) man and a Christian woman.
George M Thomas
George M Thomas
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The statement of CPI(M) leader from Kerala, George M Thomas that 'love jihad' exists in the state has created a controversy. He said this in an interview to Asianet News, while speaking about an interfaith marriage in Kerala between a Muslim CPI(M) man and a Christian woman.

According to reports, Shejin, who is a local CPI(M) committee member and Kodancherry DYFI regional secretary, and Joisna Mary Joseph, who works as a nurse in Saudi Arabia, got married last week, after being in a relationship for months. Joisna Mary had arrived from Saudi Arabia a few weeks ahead of her engagement which was scheduled with another man. However, she left her home and got married to Shejin.

Her parents had filed a missing persons police complaint alleging that it was a “love jihad”. However, Joisna Mary cleared the air by saying that she married out of her own will. While the family alleged that she was saying this because she was pressured, the couple had appeared in the Thamarassery court, which allowed them to live together.

CPI(M) Kozhikode district secretariat member George M Thomas claimed that the party will take action against Shejin not for getting married but for disrupting the communal harmony between Muslims and Christians. “If they were in love, Shejin should have informed the party, but he did not do so and eloped with her, which might disturb the communal harmony,” he said.

The newly married couple Shejin and Joisna 

When the question of ‘love jihad’ was raised to him, he claimed that it “existed in party documents” and that “love jihad happens”. “There is no argument that the term was coined by RSS. But we cannot say that such incidents never happened in Kerala,” he said and added that ‘educated women in professional colleges and institutions are attacked by these things - love jihad or whatever’.

After DYFI reacted to this interview by saying that “secular marriages will be encouraged and love jihad is a made up lie”, George stated that his earlier statement happened due to “a mistake”. DYFI, in its statement posted on social media, said that the use of the term ‘love jihad’ is an agenda “deliberately built by the established forces to break down the secular cultural heritage of Kerala” and said that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself has stated repeatedly in the legislative assembly and media that there was no love jihad in Kerala.

George, in his response to Media One, said that the news was published as him “saying that there is love jihad in Kerala. “I said the term love jihad was not ours, it was coined by RSS. There are meanings to the word jihad and it is being tied up with love jihad by BJP. How will I say that love jihad exists here after the CM had said otherwise? But the interview came out in such a way that it was misrepresented,” he claimed and added that no instance of love jihad was found in Kerala.

In 2010, the then Kerala CM VS Achuthanandan had stated that the Popular Front of India (PFI) “had plans to Islamise Kerala using money and marriages”.

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