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“Love Jihad Band Karo”: Buddhists in Ladakh protest against Manzoor Ahmed marrying Buddhist girl and converting her to Islam, demand anti-conversion law

Manzoor Ahmed's father Nazir Ahmed was vice president of Ladakh BJP, but the party expelled him after his son married a Buddhist girl

On Wednesday, September 6, massive tensions erupted in the Kargil region of Ladakh over a Muslim man named Manzoor Ahmed marrying a Buddhist girl and converting her to Islam. Locals led by the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) staged protests in the region and demanded the implementation of anti-conversion law in the Union Territory. The locals held posters and placards and also raised slogans saying, “Love Jihad Band Karo (Stop Love Jihad).”

According to the reports, all the businesses and commercial services also remained closed as the protesters conducted a rally in Kargil raising their voices against Love Jihad. The demonstrators also submitted a written memorandum to B D Mishra, Lieutenant governor of Ladakh demanding anti-conversion law in the UT.

According to the memorandum submitted by the demonstrators, an agreement was executed about 30 years ago between the Muslims of Leh and the Ladakh Buddhist Association pledging not to convert people, especially women, through monetary allurement, misrepresentation, and fraudulent tactics. This agreement specified stringent criteria requiring all communities to swiftly return converted women to their parents in order to promote community cohesion and fraternity.

“However, it has been seen that the vested interests with strong communal dispositions seek to violate the agreement at will,” read the memorandum.

The locals stated that incidents of forceful conversion can disturb the religious harmony and tranquillity of Ladakh. They have also demanded strict action against the Muslim man who lured the Buddhist girl for money and married her. The two are absconding at present.

The incident is said to have happened on July 20 this year. BJP’s Ladakh unit vice-president Nazir Ahmed’s (74) son Manzoor Ahmed (39) married a Buddhist woman and also is said to have converted her by luring her for money. Manzoor reportedly is already married and his first wife works in a private company in Delhi.

Following the incident, the BJP expelled Nazir Ahmed from his position in the party and stated that the party had approached Nazir Ahmed to lodge an FIR in the matter but he did not respond.

Ahmed said that he and his wife had gone on Haj pilgrimage for the last 40 days and they knew about their son’s marriage only after they reached Srinagar on July 20 on their way back to Leh. He said that his son had married a Buddhist woman without informing them. “My son went against us and married the girl. I didn’t do anything wrong,” Nazir was quoted as saying as he got expelled from the party.

Nazir Ahmed was expelled from BJP (Focus News)

He also said that he went to Srinagar and Delhi to look for his son but could not find him and the girl. “I had asked the party to give me some time. But I was expelled. I will always remain a BJP loyalist. I don’t support my son in his decision,” Ahmed said.

Meanwhile, the BJP stated that the decision to expel Nazir was made at a party executive meeting presided over by BJP’s Ladakh unit president Phunchok Stanzin. It stated that Nazir was given “ample time” and an opportunity to explain his involvement in a sensitive issue. 

In the absence of a satisfactory response from him, the official statement stated that “a decision has been reached to promptly relieve Nazir Ahmed of his responsibilities as [BJP’s Ladakh unit] vice-president and revoke his primary membership [of the party] with immediate effect.”

Nazir was also summoned by the party on July 27 but he said that his son had gone untraceable with the woman. “I also contacted the travel agency where he worked (in Leh) but they expressed helplessness,” Nazir had said in his explanation to the party.

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