Will all online videos linked to “love jihad” be banned? The Supreme Court (SC) is set to decide.
On a petition filed by senior advocate Indira Jaising, the SC has agreed to determine if a direction can be issued to the Centre and state governments to stop online circulation of videos related to the “communal myth of love jihad and communal hatred that is currently being spread through various websites and on other social media platforms”.
In a chilling clip of December 6, 2017 that had gone viral, Rajasthan resident Shambhulal Regar hacks a Muslim youth Mohammad Afrazul to death – as the victim was allegedly in love with a Hindu woman – and burns the body while keeping up an inflammatory communal rant against “love jihad”.
Jaising represents Gulbahar, the wife of the victim, a native of Malda, West Bengal.
Love Jihad is a term used by groups that accuse Muslim men of drawing Hindu women into love affairs and converting them.
Jaising had filed the petition last Thursday but some portions of it were objectionable to the court — after which she filed an amended version on Tuesday which will soon be listed for hearing.
“Pass a writ in the nature of mandamus(order it to perform a duty) directing both the central government and state governments to take immediate steps in removing or cause to be removed the video of the incident of 6th December 2017 which is circulating on several or other content relating to the communal myth of love jihad and communal hatred that is currently being spread through various websites and on other social media platforms; and/or such hate crimes like the reprehensible murder of the husband of petitioner,” said the petition.
Marriages and romantic relationships between Hindus and Muslims are still considered a taboo in conservative Indian families, but the attachment of a deeper, sinister motive to them is a recent phenomenon.
On December 6, Mohammad Afrazul, a migrant worker from West Bengal, was hacked with a cleaver and then set on fire by Regar in Rajsamand, Rajasthan. The alleged assailant apparently suspected that Afrazul was in a relationship with a Hindu woman.
Videos of the murder, as well as the killer’s speech justifying the act, went viral on social media. In one of the clips, Regar is seen warning Muslims by bringing up the bogey of “love jihad” and saying: “This is what will happen to you if you do ‘love jihad’ in our country.”
Gulbahar approached the top court also to demand an impartial investigation from an independent national agency which she said should also look into spreading of hate speech.
“I am filing this petition against the brutal, inhuman and cold-hearted murder of my husband, Afrazul Khan, by one Shambhu Lal Raigar,” said the plea.
“I am aggrieved by such barbaric killing of her husband and the subsequent recording of such a heinous crime being circulated on social media platforms, has approached this Hon’ble Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India in order to demand for an impartial investigation from an independent national agency and also to look into spreading of hate speech of a communal nature targeting a whole religious community and discriminating against them, demonising them and encouraging violence against them and creating a communal divide.”
Source: India Today