An Encounter With A ‘Hindu Activist’ Who Goes Door To Door Warning Families Against ‘Love Jihad’

An Encounter With A ‘Hindu Activist’ Who Goes Door To Door Warning Families Against ‘Love Jihad’Aditya in saffron stole.
Snapshot
  • Here is a profile of an angry Hindu youth, who is spreading awareness about the dangers of love jihad.

Two weeks ago, a minor Hindu girl in New Delhi was hammered to death by a Muslim man for turning him down. The case emerged close on the heels of the murder of a Hindu man, Rinku Sharma, by a Muslim mob that allegedly harboured a grudge against him for his Hindu activism.

The national capital region has been witnessing a spate of such communal crimes, prompting Hindu groups and activists to visit the sites of the crimes in droves.

In October, a Hindu woman named Nikita Tomar was killed by her former classmate Mohammad Tausif for refusing his nikah proposal. In June, a Sikh woman named Naina Kaur was stabbed to death by her former friend Sher Khan for choosing to marry a man from her own community. These are only a few cases of similar nature.

In the latest case of one Laik Khan killing a minor girl with a hammer, the police stopped the media and Hindu groups from reaching the family a day after the crime took place. Local newspapers were able to report the initial details, but the police barricaded the streets a day later.

The incident took place in the largely Hindu Begumpur area of Rohini on 19 February.

When I visited the site on 22 February, the barricades was intact.

Police cover in the area on 22 February.
Police cover in the area on 22 February.

There, I met Aditya. A resident of Mayur Vihar that is more than 20 kilometres away, 25-year-old Aditya had come to stand in solidarity with the family, he said.

He said he was not part of any Hindu organisation, but just a young man — employed and living with his family — who was worried about “communal” crimes against Hindus, especially ‘love jihad’. He said he had come alone, after taking a day off from work.

The motivation behind Aditya’s visit and his activism in the area are worth knowing, as it gives a peek into the thoughts and insecurities of a Hindu youth.

Aditya works in the accounts department of a private company. He is a graduate. When asked for his full name, he evaded the question, saying he only uses ‘Kumar’. As I proceeded to note it down in my notebook, he said he was a ‘Shukla’ but “it did not matter”.

He said he had arrived early in the morning around nine, but the police did not let him cross the barricades. He sported a saffron stole around his shoulders, and wore shirt and jeans. He lingered around for a while, hoping the security officers would relent, but they didn’t.

Aditya
Aditya

After a while, he proceeded to go door to door to “spread awareness” about the case.

“I started from this house,” he said, pointing to the entrance of a lane that is about 200 metres from the house of the victim. “I knocked at the door, requested the women of the family to listen to me for a minute. I asked them if they knew what had happened in their area; the women said no. I narrated to them the entire incident.”

Aditya said that none of the women he had spoken to since the morning, knew about the case. He said that among gender crimes, they knew only about the Nirbhaya case (2012).

“That’s how ignorant Hindu girls and even their mothers are. They don’t know how ‘jihadis’ are targetting them,” he said.

Aditya said he does this door-to-door activity quite often. “I find similar responses from women everywhere.”

Aditya said he had visited around “20-25” houses since morning. It was around 2 pm when I met him.

“Had the police allowed me to meet the victim family, I would have listened to the entire matter and told them they are not alone. As I did not get that opportunity, I decided to utilise my time for spreading awareness,” he said.

He said he had not told his parents that he had come to Begumpur, but if they were to find out, it would not lead to a problem for him. Asked if any of his friends had accompanied him, he said there were a couple of them, all employed youths like him who had taken a day off from work.

“What’s the point of going to work when our very life is at stake,” he said. “We kickstart our motorcycles and leave for offices every day. The Muslim youths laugh behind our back, saying it’s they who will eventually take everything from us.”

Asked what makes him reach this conclusion, Aditya cited Kashmir and Kairana. “It’s all about demography of the area.”

He continued, “we follow the law. We follow the Constitution. We have one wife. They [Muslims] don’t follow the law. They don’t follow the Constitution but their holy book. They keep four wives. Does the Constitution exist only to fool Hindus?”

Aditya said that in his opinion, a population control law is need of the hour. The next in his priority list is a nationwide ‘love jihad’ law on the lines of Uttar Pradesh.

He said he appealed to residents of Begumpur to leave their homes and gather in the streets to express their protest against the crime. “We told them what’s happening all around the country. How Hindu girls are being targetted, converted and killed. We asked them to hit the streets in demand of love jihad law like UP,” he said.

Aditya said he was thankful that the media has now begun to reveal the identity of criminals if they are Muslims, a practice not followed in the past. “Earlier, they would identify such criminals only as ‘samuday vishesh’. Now they don’t. That’s a good thing. But now that the police are stopping media from doing their job, how will they show the truth?” he said.

When asked, Aditya said he voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in general elections in 2019 and then in Delhi assembly elections in 2020. He said he had voted for Aam Aadmi Party when it fought the elections in 2015 for the second time.

The ‘love jihad’ law cited by Aditya is in reality a law against forced religious conversions enacted by the Yogi Adityanath-led government in UP in November even though Adityanath himself has been calling it a law against “love jihad” in his political speeches.

It’s clear from Aditya’s words that his ‘Hindu activism’ is triggered by fear of a shift in demography in India in favour of Muslims and crimes perpetrated by members of the Muslim community on Hindus that he comes to know through mobile messaging apps and news channels.

He rejects the suggestion that the religious identities of victims and perpetrators may be incidental to the crimes. He smirks at it. “Only Akhlaq was communally motivated, is it not?” he says bitterly.

Aditya belongs to a category of men that the ‘secular’ media and commentators often label as ‘radicalised Hindus’, ‘budding vigilantes’ and even ‘hate-mongers’. However, while the sight of a youth wearing a saffron stole sends the ‘seculars’ into a collective panic, the impression is quite different among locals.

When asked about the presence of saffron stole-sporting, tilak-adorning ‘outsider’ Hindu youths in the area since the crime, two locals — Nem Singh and Mahesh Chand — said they did not have a problem.

“They are not creating any problem. They have come all the way to stand with us. Why should we have a problem?” said Singh while Chand expressed his support to the statement.

Swati Goel Sharma is a senior editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @swati_gs.

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