A group of prominent civil society organisations in Madhya Pradesh sent a memorandum to the President of India, demanding his intervention in what they have called ‘special circumstances’ in the state and demanded deferment of the implementation of the contentious ‘love jihad’ law, which they have termed “totally unconstitutional.”
The memorandum stated that President Ram Nath Kovind is being petitioned as Madhya Pradesh does not have a full-time governor at present, and similar situation is prevailing in other states of the country too.
“As you must be aware, an ordinance has been notified in Madhya Pradesh with an objective of controlling so-called love jihad. We, the signatories are of view that as for marriages, all adults in the country have complete right to decide about it themselves and the Indian constitution has clear provision for this. Recently, high courts in different states have also made similar observations. Therefore, the ordinance clearly infringes into the rights of the citizens and is totally unconstitutional,” the memorandum noted.
“We also object to the fact that the law with long-term consequences was brought it as an ordinance. The constitution gives rights to governments to bring in ordinances so that emergency situations could be dealt with, especially in times when the Parliament or the assemblies are not in session and the emergency situation does not allow the option of awaiting of commencement of such sessions.
Thus we request for immediate deferment of implementation of the ordinance, especially in the situation where the Supreme Court is looking into the decisions of various high courts on similar laws (enacted by other states). In our view, these laws will leader to situation of animosity and mutual hatred in the society,” the memorandum said.
The memorandum also pointed out the some incidents led to feeling of insecurity in the society. There were incidents of confrontation between some supporters of Hindu organisations and some members of minority community reported from three districts of the state.
“It was said that some minority community members pelted stone on Hindu organisation supporters. Police registered cases against minority community members, however, they did not say as to under what circumstances the stone pelting occurred. Also, it was reported that some anti-social elements unfurled saffron flag on a mosque and recited religious hymns in front of another,” the memorandum said.
It added that it was regretful that there was action against stone pelters, but in their knowledge, there was no action against those indulging in raising inflammatory slogans and desecrating Muslim religious places. “There was no action against those trying to create disharmony. The one-sided action of police has led to feeling of insecurity and anger in the minority community,” the memorandum said.
The signatories include Rajendra Sharma, L.S. Herdenia, Kumar Ambuj, Ramakant Shrivastava, Subodh Shrivastava, Rakesh Diwan, Kumud Singh, Javed Anis, Upasana Behar, Asha Mishra, Shailendra Shaili, Satyam Pande, Raghuraj Singh, Sajid Ali, Ramprakash Tripathi, Rajendra Kothari, Manoj Kulkarni, S.R. Azad, Sandhya Shaili, Neena Sharma, Ashafia Jamal and Anand Muttungal.
They represent organisations like All India Secular Forum, Pragatisheel Lekhak Sangh, Sarokar, Yuva Vichar Manch, Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, All India People’s Science Network, All India Democratic Women’s Association and Christian Association.