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Of fear and favour: Why Hindu women seldom speak out on the atrocities unleashed upon them in grooming jihad

How lopsided narratives on religious persecution built by popular media and 'liberal' voices don't let more Hindus speak up on the atrocities unleashed upon them.

Earlier this month I spent a five days in South Gujarat, specifically Surat and Bharuch where I got to speak to a young woman Pooja (name changed), who had been victim of grooming jihad herself when she was a minor. She put her faith in me and narrated her ordeal in hopes that her story will perhaps help other victims to get courage that there is still hope.

For me, Pooja was now not just someone I wrote a report on. My eyes welled up and when I gave her a hug as I left, I apologised to her. I was sorry that she had to go through this. That not only go through it once, but relive these moments every time she is asked to talk about it. It has been 7 years since she was abducted, forced to read namaz, enter into a nikah and eventually rescued.

She was all but 17. At 17, I was preparing for my 12th Board exams and hoping I get into the college I wanted. No 17-year-old should have go to go through what Pooja had to endure.

Didi, main jab wapis aayi toh kuch din baad itna bura lag raha tha, jab bhi bahar niklo, sab dekh ke bolte the ki iske saath yeh hua, ki usko Musalman ladka le gaya tha, itna insult feel hota tha ki maine socha idhar rehna hi nahi aur wapis Dilshad ke saath jaane ka soch liya. Main nikli bhi thi ghar se lekin inhone wapis bacha liya. (Didi, when I returned I felt so bad, everyone kept looking at me as if I was at fault, and would keep discussing how I had to go through all this and how I was taken away by a Muslim boy. I felt so insulted that one day I thought I’d rather go back to Dilshad (abductor) anyway. I even left the house but they (activists) saved me)”, she told me through sobs.

Which is why today when one nameless, faceless, coward troll dismissed her as ‘paid Hindutva troll’, I was very upset.

Troll on Pooja (name changed)

Willis here with less than 50 followers found my 10 day old tweet and said that Pooja’s ordeal is ‘bullsh*t’ to him. “She’s clearly a paid Hindutva troll working for Modi’s government, just like you,” he said before making a personal attack on me.

Here is a girl, literally coming on record giving video testimony of what she had gone through and this fellow had the audacity to dismiss it.

Yes, love jihad does not exist because if it is jihad, it is not love and if it is by consenting adults out of free will, it is not jihad. However, when a young girl is abducted or lured into relationship by deceit (where Salman becomes Sonu or Arshad becomes Ajay), with eventual aim of religious conversion, the relationship is not love. Or when a ‘lover’ loves his/her religious duties more than ‘love’, it can’t be love either.

But it is not just this anonymous loser who does not believe in grooming jihad. Many ‘liberals’ and media houses have regularly dismissed the fact that Hindus could be and are victims of forced religious conversion.

Here are a few headlines of the ‘liberal’ media establishment.

The Wire article on ‘bogey of love jihad’ from July 2021

Apparently, ordeal of Hindu women who are abducted and forced to convert to Islam, eat beef, offer namaz, wear burqa is ‘hate filled menacing message on WhatsApp’.

NDTV being NDTV

NDTV in July last year ran a show claiming ‘so-called’ victims of love jihad debunk conspiracy. You see, NDTV claims it spoke to a woman who converted to Islam out of her own free will. There is no background of how the woman met the Muslim man she married after converting to Islam. It does not specify whether the man had hidden his religious identity or whether she was lured into relationship. All inter-religious marriages, obviously, are not grooming jihads. But there has to be an element of deceit and intention of subsequent religious conversion. On bringing in a random interfaith couple, one cannot dismiss the painful stories of lakhs of women.

NYTimes

Racist NYTimes also tried to make all Indians come across as intolerant religious bigots by spinning facts and trying to paint all interfaith relationships as ‘love jihad’ or grooming jihad.

On the other hand, all these media houses and ‘liberals’ never come forward to debunk all the fake ‘Jai Shri Ram’ hate crimes they are just too eager to report on. In July 2021, OpIndia listed out 20 incidents where ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan was misused to turn a random crime into a hate crime. Most of these were widely reported in mainstream media and many in international media to portray India’s ‘rising intolerance’ but when the same were debunked, they didn’t really show any enthusiasm to update their readers on how they erred.

As I have earlier said, Allahu Akbar is so dreaded for being the go-to chant of Islamists before blowing themselves, planes and other things off that the apologists desperately need something to defame Hinduism.

So when the popular vote and sentiment is against you, how do you expect more Hindus to speak up? Haven’t you seen how Hindus are mocked recently in a widely shared infographic for even expressing concerns about forced religious conversion and demography change and polarisation?

Caricature mocking Hindus’ fear of polarisation, forced conversions

This image was widely shared to mock Hindus who expressed apprehensions of persecution.

It is because of this that most Hindus do not speak up. Because they are mocked, ridiculed or worst (and quite often) not believed.

Like how Willis just said that Pooja was lying. He did go on to name call her and accuse her of being ‘paid’ to say that, but his first reaction was to dismiss it completely. That is also how an average ‘liberal’ behaves.

They will tell you you are a liar for being a victim of persecution. The mainstream sentiment which eventually influences popular opinion has called you a liar.

A few weeks back, we at OpIndia decided to do a follow up story of a real interfaith couple – a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl where the girl wasn’t asked to change her religion and never did the boy meet her pretending to be a Muslim – who were threatened by Muslim fundamentalists. They had to run away to a ‘safe place’. We wanted to bring their story out about their challenges since then.

We got in touch with them, but the boy said, “madam, rahne do please, mat chhapo kuchh. Abhi lagta hai woh log bhool gaye hain. Aap chhapoge toh kahin phir se woh humaare peechhe na pad jaayein.” They basically didn’t want their story to come out, as they feared for their safety. We couldn’t have put our traffic ahead of their lives, so we didn’t carry any story.

But essentially what happened – a victim was successfully silenced by those who claim they are ‘dara hua’. The stories don’t come out. The victims don’t speak. Some are not even alive to speak.

Recently I saw one ‘Muslim journalist’ (her own phrase to describe herself), who is a victim of ‘bulli bai’ app, who has already written three articles on various publications explaining her trauma how she was put on ‘auction’. Being a woman, I can understand the trauma of your pics being used online and you being subjected to humiliation, but I couldn’t stop noticing how this victim, victim of a virtual crime, has already put out three stories, and dozens of derivatives stories on those would be followed up in the mainstream media, while the Hindu victims of real hate crime were either dead or scared to death to speak up.

Voices of victims like Pooja are shouted down – that is how lopsided narratives get. Pooja not only had to endure the trauma, but she now also has to live through the humiliation of being called a liar because popular narrative is so built that does not even accept her ordeal.

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Nirwa Mehta
Nirwa Mehtahttps://medium.com/@nirwamehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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