Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (DV)
Mangaluru, Oct 5: In an explosive revelation, a sting operation and investigation by Cobrapost and Gulail has shown how the BJP and right-wing organizations like the VHP, RSS and their splinter groups are engaged in splitting up Hindu-Muslim lovers and married couples by use of force or dubious means in the name of 'love Jihad'.
Making public the findings of its undercover operation, Cobrapost said that its investigation has revealed how BJP and right-wing outfits 'use violence, intimidation, emotional blackmail, duplicity and drugs to split up Hindu–Muslim married couples'.
Interestingly, BJP leaders based in Mangaluru are also shown to be involved in, or supporting such activities. The sting operation included interviews of Dakshina Kannada VHP working president Jagadish Shenava, BJP MLC Ganesh Karnik and former BJP member Srikar Prabhu wherein they talked of how Hindu girls who fall in love with Muslim youths are 'rescued' and 'brought back' either through counselling or force, even if they are adults and married.
Pretending to be an M Phil student from Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi who was associated with right-wing student organisation ABVP, Shazia Nigar of Gulail team met various BJP, RSS and VHP leaders in Muzaffarnagar, Karnataka and Kerala.
In the course of this one-year long investigation, codenamed Operation Juliet, the Gulail team met leaders and workers of the BJP, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) such as BJP MP from Muzaffarnagar and minister of state for agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan; BJP MLA from Thana Bhawan in Uttar Pradesh, Suresh Rana; BJP MP from Kairana in UP, Hukum Singh; BJP MLA from Sardhana, Sangeet Som; BJP’s district level leader in Muzaffarnagar Sanjay Agarwal; Umesh Mallik, who contested the Assembly election from Budhana on a BJP ticket and lost; Shrikar Prabhu, Karnataka BJP’s executive member who has since been expelled from the party; BJP MLC from Mangalore, Captain Ganesh Karnik; RSS leader Omkar Singh in Muzaffarnagar; Lalit Maheshwari, VHP’s Muzaffarnagar unit head; Jagadish Shenava, advocate and VHP’s Mangalore district president; VHP worker Hari Shiv Prasad; Shiv Kumar Sharma, the founder of Krishna Sena, a religious organization; and the chief of Hindu Unity Forum Ravish Tantri.
Cobrapost claimed that the series of interviews brought out the following facts:
- They forcibly rescue girls who are victims of “love jihad.”
- They misuse public support for mounting pressure on police and local administration to nullify such marriages.
- They file fake rape and kidnapping cases against Muslim youth who elope with or marry Hindu women.
- They use fake documents showing girls as minor so as to implicate the Muslim boys.
- If a Hindu woman is not willing to give a statement against her Muslim lover or husband or is not willing to forsake him, they use emotional blackmail and physical force to make her fall in line.
- They even administer medicinal drugs on 'love jihad' victims to induce temporary amnesia to rescue them from inter-religious marriages.
- Interestingly, not a single woman, they claimed to have rescued, ever sought their help saying she was a victim of 'love jihad'.
- They distribute inflammatory pamphlets and books to further their cause.
- They run counselling centres and Hindu helplines to brainwash Hindu women who marry outside their community into giving up on their love life and settle for the man chosen by the Hindutva Brigade.
- These counselling sessions consist of a poor depiction of the man she is in love and denigration of his religion, call to her family and community honour, instilling a sense of insecurity in the woman with regard to her future and use of threat of physical harm to both her and her lover.
During the sting operation, Jagadish Shenava recalled a 'rescue operation' in February 2014 wherein the Hindu girl, aged 21 years, was 'counselled' into leaving the Muslim man she was in love with, and the man was arrested on charges of 'kidnapping'. Shenava confesses to 'slapping false charges on Muslim men and admits using mobs to build pressure on police and to disrupt law and order'.
"If they don't understand, we use force," he told the interviewer.
Speaking to daijiworld, Shenava said that there was no need for a sting operation for him to say the things he did, and he would have openly said the same to the interviewer. "We will make an organized effort to stop love Jihad. If one girl goes away (marries a non-Hindu), the children that are born to her will become anti-Hindu and we do not want to give any scope for that to happen. Hence, as much as possible, in future also we will bring back girls who have gone away from the community."
On his remarks that force was being used in such cases, he denied it and said, "The word 'force' has been misinterpreted here. What I meant was counselling and convincing." However, the sting operation video clearly shows Shenava saying 'maarna padega na' (we have to hit), but adds that women are not beaten up.
The interviewer also met BJP MLC Captain Ganesh Karnik in the party’s headquarters in Mangaluru. He claimed that RSS has infiltrated the police force in the district.
"We have tried to send some of our boys into police. When I talk to students I tell them to join the police. So when we need help there are a lot of karyakartas, RSS. Sixty percent of the young constables are our students," he told the interviewer. This infiltration into the police force comes in handy when they need to take the law into their hands, Cobrapost stated.
Speaking to daijiworld, Karnik said, "There is no need for sting operation. I can openly share my thoughts about love Jihad."
Regarding RSS students in police force, he said, "I don't remember exactly in what context that was asked. The interview was taken long ago and she (interviewer) told a lie that she was an ABVP activist. I said RSS workers are there in all fields. I am also an RSS worker and I stood for elections. There is no strategy, it is impossible. We were in power only for five years, and when our party (BJP) was in power in the state, all recruitments were based on merit. But I guess she might have asked something regarding Congress workers being in police force, so I might have said something about RSS workers also being there in police."
He also blatantly denied that there was any strategy of the RSS and Sangh Parivar of using force to bring back Hindu girls. "We don't even use the phrase 'Ghar Wapsi'. If someone who has moved away from Hinduism wants to return, we show them a way, that's all. The interviewer had discussed about love jihad, and I had said yes, love Jihad is a major problem in the coastal area. But it is not only in Mangaluru, it is one of the many problems in the nation, just like conversion, counterfeit currency racket, border issues, drug mafia, illegal arms racket, internal security issue and so on are also problems facing the nation."
In another interesting revelation, Srikar Prabhu, who was expelled from the BJP for anti-party activities, claimed that the term 'love Jihad' originated in Mangaluru, and that too from Jagadish Shenava, and then spread all over the nation. He also said that after 'counselling', if the girl is ready to come back, they help her in every way including providing legal help, but if she does not listen, they use force, and are even ready to 'finish off' the Muslim youth. He also mentioned a case wherein a Muslim youth was killed by the girl's father, who was later jailed.
"The interviewer came to me saying she was a student wanting information on love Jihad, and I told her what was happening in Mangaluru," said Srikar Prabhu when contacted by daijiworld.
Regarding use of force to the extent of 'finishing off' the youth, he said, "I do not know in what context I said that. I have never used force. My statement has been misintepreted and the example I gave was of a case that did not happen in Mangaluru.
"There is no strategy as alleged. We protect our girls, just as Muslims and Christians protect their girls. There was no need for a sting operation for this. I would have told everything openly," he added.
Cobrapost claimed that during its year-long investigation across the country, it discovered that activities related to love Jihad had "sanctions from the very top, from the BJP, VHP and RSS. Gulail have on record BJP MLAs and heads of the right-wing groups admitting to their role in violent and illegal activities related to 'love jihad' and how they manipulated, intimidated, used force and blackmail with Hindu girls who had eloped and married Muslim and Christian boys. The communal and patriarchal base of 'love jihad' means that the immediate victims are not just Muslim men but also Hindu women".
"These right-wing groups slap fabricated cases of rape and kidnapping on innocent Muslim men and use force on “uncooperating” Hindu women – who have married Muslim men – to toe their line and give false testimonies against their husbands. Apart from exposing the communal mind set of those involved, their own admission is evidence of how they have broken the law at several levels," it said.
Watch sting operation on Jagadish Shenava and Srikar Prabhu:
To read the entire report on Cobrapost findings, click here