The social welfare department of the Uttarakhand government had recently passed a controversial order to promote interfaith and intercaste marriages in the state and incentivise people by providing Rs 50,000 for such marriages.
In an order passed by Tehri Garhwal district’s social welfare officer, it was specified that the government had decided to incentivise and promote interfaith and intercaste marriages in the state in an effort to bring unity in the society and country at large. Under the scheme, the social welfare department in the state would provide Rs 50,000 to a person marrying outside his caste or religion.
However, as per the order dated November 18, 2020, one of the persons being married should belong to the Scheduled Caste community to avail the state benefits. The order had stated that the concerned couple can avail the benefit by marrying in any of the certified temples, mosques or registering their marriage with the concerned department.
According to the Uttarakhand’s social Welfare department, such marriages can help bring about social harmony in society.
Criticism against notification rewarding ‘interfaith’ marriages, say it promotes ‘Love Jihad’
The order passed by Tehri Garhwal’s social Welfare Department to promote the so-called ‘interfaith’ marriages, however, did not go well with the citizens of the state and also the concerned citizens of the country.
Various people took to social media to criticise the Uttarakhand government for passing such an order alleging that such an ill-conceived order will only promote religious conversions and ‘Grooming Jihad’ (Love Jihad) in the state.
Netizens shared that such an order would now not only promote the conversion of Hindus, especially women of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes into Islam and other religions but also incentivise people belonging to other communities to trap Hindu women to get married to avail the reward.
Taking to Twitter, Suresh Chavhanke, the Editor of Sudarshan TV, also raised objections to such an order of the Uttarakhand social welfare department. He said that instead of punishing people for promoting ‘Love Jihad’, the Uttarakhand government was rewarding them with Rs 50,000 for doing so.
ग़ज़ब- #लव_जिहादी को सजा नही 50 हज़ार सरकारी इनाम?— Suresh Chavhanke “Sudarshan News” (@SureshChavhanke) November 20, 2020
देवभूमि उत्तराखंड में उल्टी गंगा क्यू बह रही है?
जब सारे राज्य #LoveJihad के विरुद्ध क़ानून बना रहे हैं तो ये बढ़ावा क्या CM @tsrawatbjp जी आपको पता भी है?
#UPSC_Jihad वाला अधिकारी तो नहीं करा रहाँ?@ukcmo @GovtofUK @BJP4UK pic.twitter.com/WnePAIG00B
Suresh Chavhanke said that when the rest of the states were making laws against ‘Love Jihad’ to stop the forced religious conversion, the BJP government in the state was promoting it by rewarding such an act. He asked the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat whether he knew about such a notification.
Uttarakhand government clarifies on its notification incentivising interfaith and intercaste marriages
Following the outrage over such an unsound order promoting interfaith marriages, sources close to Uttarakhand government has clarified that the controversial order will be withdrawn and stressed that the necessary corrective action will be taken for passing such an order.
Alok Bhatt, the Economic Adviser to Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat, also clarified that the notification was issued by Zila Samaj Kalyan Adhikari of Tehri Garhwal district. The concerned officer had issued a press note in continuation with an earlier scheme which was in force under a 1976 scheme of Uttar Pradesh government that was made applicable to Uttarakhand after the bifurcation of the state.
Bhatt added that as Uttar Pradesh was the parent state, there is an unwritten code that schemes, rules etc are generally copied from the Uttar Pradesh. So, the notification to promote interfaith/intercaste marriages was followed directly from the previous Congress government order. The Congress government had adopted the old order of the UP government but had increased the reward from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000, Bhatt added.
As UP was the parent state, there is an unwritten code that schemes, rules etc are generally copied from UP only & so was this scheme. Under one order during previous Cong Govt, the amount paid to couples eligible under this scheme was increased from 10K to 50K pic.twitter.com/9aZ8x46rTh— Alok Bhatt (@alok_bhatt) November 21, 2020
Further, Alok Bhatt added that during 2019-20, 18 couples were paid this prize money, out of which 15 were cases of inter-caste marriages and 3 were that of interfaith marriages. The three cases are of Haldwani, Udham Singh Nagar and Nainital.
“As District Tehri was not receiving any applications under this head so this overzealous officer issued a press note and thanks to this press note this issue got highlighted and has come to the notice of the government,” Alok Bhatt clarified on Twitter following the controversy over the order by Uttarakhand order promoting interfaith marriages.
He also added that the press note has now been withdrawn and necessary corrective actions have already been initiated.
“What people need to understand is that Govt always works in continuation & now that this issue has come to the attention of the Govt, necessary corrective action is being taken,” he further said adding that this initiative was not a decision of the present government in the Uttarakhand.
And lastly, what matters here is not what was happening from long but the response of the Govt as soon as the matter was brought to its notice -people need to take it easy; no one in BJP Govt, even in their wildest of dreams, will do/ support anything that is being made out here— Alok Bhatt (@alok_bhatt) November 21, 2020
Ending his tweet, Alok Bhatt also stressed that no one in BJP government, even in their wildest of dreams, will do or support anything that promoted such forced conversions in the name of ‘interfaith’ marriages.
The particular order to promote interfaith marriages by the social welfare department of Tehri Garhwal district comes at a time when there has been an increasing trend of ‘Love Jihad’ cases in the country. The dangerous trend of trapping of Hindu women to marry them and forcing them to quit their religion to convert to Islam has become a raging debate in the country. The various state government have now finally decided to act against such horrendous act by bringing strict laws against cases of ‘Love Jihad’ in their respective state.