Kochi: The Kerala High Court has ordered the police to shut down any centre for forcible conversion or re-conversion, whether it be Hindu, Muslim or Christian. The court also observed that every case of inter-religious marriage shall not be portrayed on a religious canvas and create fissures in the communal harmony existing in ‘God’s own country’-Kerala. A division bench passed this order while upholding the marriage of a Hindu girl, Sruthi of Kannur, with Anees Hameed, Kannur, and allowed her to go with him. The court also quoted American poet Maya Angelou: Love recognises no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
The state government submitted before the court that it will take appropriate action according to law against forcible conversion centres or re-conversion centres, if any, in the state. The bench observed that there was a trend in the state to sensationalise every case of inter-religious marriage as either 'Love Jihad’ or ‘Ghar Wapsi' even if there was platonic love between the spouses before. This case was also projected as 'Love Jihad’ by the parents of Sruthi whereas Anees alleged a case of 'Ghar Wapsi' in a bid to coerce her to come back to Hindu religion.
“Any centre for forcible conversion or re-conversion has to be busted by the police whether it is Hindu, Muslim or Christian lest it offends the Constitutional rights. Article 25 (1) of the Constitution of India guarantees to every citizen the right to freely profess, practice and propagate any religion which cannot be trampled upon by subversive forces or religious outfits," the court observed.
It also cited an apex court order which held that caste system is a curse on the nation and that the sooner it is destroyed, the better. “In fact, it is dividing the nation at a time when we have to be united to face the challenges before the nation unitedly. Inter-caste marriages were in fact in the national interest as they will result in destroying the caste system,” the SC order had stated. The bench also dismissed the petitions filed by Athira who was allegedly an inmate of the Yoga Kendra Thripunithura, and Christian Helpline and Vijnanabharathi Educational and Charitable Society seeking to implead in the case contending that this was a case of 'Love Jihad'.