An event planned against the Uttar Pradesh “love jihad” law, at Jantar Mantar here on Sunday, was postponed after the organisers were denied permission by Delhi Police.
The event, titled “India Against Love Jihad Law”, was scheduled at 12 noon wherein interfaith couples were expected to tell their stories.
Love jihad is a term coined by Hindutva groups for Hindu girls being allegedly forced to convert to Islam in the guise of marriage.
Political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla, who is leading the ”India Against Love Jihad Law” initiative along with social scientist Akriti Bhatia and lawyer Mani Chander, said they will hold the event next Sunday, that is, January 10.
“A police officer told us they had ‘orders from above’ to not allow ‘such couples’ to hold an event. I want to ask what do they mean by ‘such couples’, all we wanted to do was celebrate love and togetherness with some music. But Delhi Police is not working as per the Constitution,” Poonawalla told reporters.
In a letter to Poonawalla, the city police denied the permission to hold the event citing the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s (DDMA) guidelines to control the spread of Covid-19.
A senior police officer said permission was denied for the event in view of the guidelines issued by DDMA, according to which, all social, academic, sports, cultural and other gatherings are prohibited to prevent and control the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
Poonawalla said if the event won’t be allowed next Sunday, his team would protest in front of the house of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“If they will not allow it again, we will go sit in front of the PM’s house, then the parliament and the Supreme Court. How long will they stop us?” he asked.
The Uttar Pradesh government passed the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 on November 28 which aims at curbing forcible or fraudulent religious conversions, including those for the sake of marriage.
Subsequently, the Madhya Pradesh government passed the Religious Freedom Bill, 2020 which provides for a prison term of up to 10 years and fine of Rs 1 lakh for conversion through marriage or by any other fraudulent means.