Vishva Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) young women’s wing Durga Vahini has launched a campaign to “reconvert” Hindu women who married Muslim men, claiming the ghar wapsi campaign must address “love jihad”.
The latest issue of Himalaya Dhwani, a magazine brought out by the Vahini’s northern India regional coordinator Rajni Thukral, is devoted to this theme. On the cover is the morphed face of filmstar Kareena Kapoor half covered with a niqab. A strap underneath reads: “conversion of nationality through religious conversion”.
But why a picture of Kareena, who married filmstar Saif Ali Khan in 2012? “She is a celebrity. The youth try to emulate celebrities. They think if she can do so, why not us?” Thukral claimed.
“Sixteen Hindu women who married Muslim men posing as Hindus have approached us for ghar wapsi. We have already reconverted two. One has also been remarried,” Thukral told HT.
In the magazine’s editorial section, she wrote: “There has been much debate on love jihad and conversions. The nation was divided and Pakistan was created because of conversions. If a girl gets caught in Love Jihad and becomes Muslim by mistake and now wants to return to her original faith, isn’t it her right? It’s strange that some parties claiming to be secular call this conversion.”
Claiming that “love jihad” was a “serious” issue in Himachal Pradesh, Thukral said Vahini, “will go to 3,000 villages” and have “apprised the state government of love jihad here on a large scale.”
“We are also taking up the matter at the national level. We had a conclave in MP recently and will have one in Delhi early in March,” Thukral added.
Reacting to the cover, Saif Ali Khan told HT, “It’s ridiculous and not surprising… but these uneducated and bigoted ideas are the worst of India and condemning them is important”.
Women within the VHP loop stay in Durga Vahini from the age of 15 to 35 where they are taught military-style combat and a revisionist history that promotes Hindu supremacy. After Vahini, they join the VHP’s women’s wing Matr Shakti.