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Love Jihad law turns essential in India

A tainted politician, Nusrat Jahan demonstrates why Love Jihad laws are all the more essential, not only in India but in every country where both men and women are at risk of being conned by the likes of this parliamentarian. Writes Ashlyn Davis

Just months after the Trinamool Congress party (TMC) formed its first government in the Indian state of West Bengal, the notorious Park Street case brought the focus of the entire nation to the state. On February 6, 2012, Suzette Jordan, a Christian woman from an Anglo-Indian family, was raped by five men in a moving car on bustling Park Street.

At that time, the TMC had not yet come out as the Muslim-pandering party it is known to be today, but the party matriarch Mamata Banerjee’s mishandling of the infamous case, including her victim-shaming, transferal of the top police officer who was working on the case, and claim that the widely-debated crime was a minor incident left many people stunned.  Four of the five perpetrators were Muslims, including the prime accused, Kader Khan. Khan was dating the newly introduced actress Nusrat Jahan, also a Muslim, and the two were in contact even when Khan was at large. Khan was detained by the West Bengal Police in 2015 in a Noida hideout. Police also learned that Jahan had booked a hotel room in Mumbai for the two.

Khan and Jahan have since broken up. By 2019, Nusrat Jahan had established herself as an influential Bengali film actress, while the TMC was recognized as the most blatant Muslim-appeasing party in the country. So when the TMC introduced this actress as the parliamentary candidate for the Bashirhat constituency, no one was surprised.

Bashirhat is a Muslim-dominant constituency. Track record, reputation, or fitness for office are not important. The Muslim identity is enough to gain votes. Nusrat Jahan won the seat effortlessly and was set to enter the temple of the world’s largest democracy, the Indian Parliament, which represents a population of 1.3 billion people. But the newly-elected parliamentarian was absent from the parliament for the oath-taking ceremony.

The reason? Nusrat Jahan was busy with her extravagant wedding in Turkey where she, surrounded by her friends and family members, she tied the knot with Hindu tycoon Nikhil Jain, and the Internet was awash with incessant updates about the high profile “marriage,” or so we thought.

Upon her return from the marriage junket, the first-time parliamentarian set foot on the floor of the Indian parliament draped in a saree, sporting vermillion in her hair-partition, mangalsutra (a gold chain with black beads), choodah (red and white bangles) and henna-painted hands (all extremely revered matrimonial emblems of the Hindu culture) and took her oath as Nusrat Jahan Ruhi Jain. The elected representative went on the Parliament’s records with her marital status as “married,” and her spouse’s name as Nikhil Jain.

This marriage was celebrated by the liberal lobby, and riding on this adulation, Jahan criticized the anti-Love Jihad laws that had been proposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to stop the increasing instances in which Muslim men, masquerading as Hindus, deceived Hindu women into romantic involvements that often culminated in murders, rapes or other acts of violence. Calling the BJP “poison,” Jahan said at a 2020 press conference that she practiced “secular love” and slammed the central government for introducing a law regarding it.

With the passage of time, this “marriage” hit the rocks. There were rumors that the actress-cum-parliamentarian was seeing a different actor. Soon there surfaced news of her alleged pregnancy. Responding to this news, Nikhil Jain spell out that he had not lived with his “wife” for months. There is nothing uncommon about couples falling out of love, finding love elsewhere and moving on. India is progressive enough to acknowledge that, and there are divorce laws to liberate people from bad marriages. So would the parliamentarian divorce her “husband”?

The question was common. And then the honorable people’s representative dropped the bomb. She said she had never been married to Nikhil Jain. It was just a “live-in” arrangement. “Interfaith marriage in India requires validation under the Special Marriage Act, which never happened. As the marriage was not legal, valid and tenable, there is no question of divorce,” Nusrat Jahan clarified.

The parliamentarian, who less than a year before had spoken up for “secular love,” condemning the regulating of it by “laws,” was reaching for “interfaith marriage laws” that “validate” a “marriage.” Now had this been any random pretty actress, we wouldn’t have been concerned. The reason why this has become a high-voltage drama in India was that this was an elected parliamentarian who was making self-contradictory statements according to what suited her, and had criticized Love Jihad laws on false pretenses.

If Indians were to go by her recent claims that she was never married, then this is a parliamentarian who lied on the floor of the Indian parliament while taking the oath as a representative of the house, and who provided false information in her introduction as a Lok Sabha Member.

Nusrat Jahan attended Hindu festivals as a married woman and participated in customs observed exclusively by Hindu married women. This is a parliamentarian who insulted the majority’s religious sentiments and their holy symbols.

In interviews, she had introduced Nikhil Jain as her husband and referred to Jain’s mother as her mother-in-law. This is a parliamentarian who lied to the Indian population in broad daylight.

A tainted politician, Nusrat Jahan demonstrates why Love Jihad laws are all the more essential, not only in India but in every country where both men and women are at risk of being conned by the likes of this parliamentarian.

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