Gujarat Exclusive > National-World > NCW chief Rekha Sharma rakes controversy on “love jihad”, faces criticism

NCW chief Rekha Sharma rakes controversy on “love jihad”, faces criticism


National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma’s meeting with Maharashtra Governor BS Koshyari on Tuesday has raked up a major controversy. According to the commission, Rekha Sharma discussed “rise in love jihad cases” and women’s safety in Maharashtra.

Notably, during the meeting, Rekha Sharma told Koshyari that there was a rise in “love jihad” cases in Maharashtra. She also stressed on the difference between consensual inter-faith marriages and love jihad.

Following the meeting, NCW tweeted: “Our Chairperson @sharmarekha met with Bhagat Singh Koshyari, His Excellency, Governor of Maharashtra and discussed issues related to #womensafety in the state including defunct One Stop Centres, molestation and rape of women patients at #COVID centres and rise in love jihad cases.”

The women’s body also tweeted a photo of Tuesday’s meeting, showing Sharma sitting with Koshyari.

What is love jihad?

“Love jihad” is a term used by right-wing groups to target relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women, which, they say, is an elaborate ruse to forcibly convert the women.

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In February, the government told parliament that the term “love jihad” is not defined under existing laws and no case has been reported by any central agency–officially distancing itself from the term used by right-wing groups in several cases of inter-faith marriages.

NCW, Rekha Sharma face criticism

Within minutes of the controversial tweets, NCW and Rekha Sharma were severely criticised on social media.

A twitter user said: “This is outrageous, there’s growing extremism and intolerance along with state indifference to crimes against women and minorities. Is it really constitutional to use term ‘love jihad’ to target a religion?”

Another user said: “Would the NCW and its chairperson kindly clarify what is meant by ‘love jihad’? Are you using it with the same meaning which some extremist groups are doing? If so, are you endorsing their brand of vigilantism?”

Rekha Sharma deletes old tweets

Rekha Sharma has deleted all her tweets after some Twitter users dug out some of her old tweets in which she was found mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and cracking sexist jokes.

The Twitter profile of Rekha Sharma has now been locked. It says “the tweets are protected”.

Some of the tweets of Rekha Sharma shared by Twitter users since Tuesday date back to 2012, 2014 in which the NCW chief purportedly can be seen making fun of women, cracking jokes on politicians, including PM Modi and Arvind Kejriwal.

The Youth Congress Twitter handle said, “Why hide your cheap and misogynistic tweets now @sharmarekha? The BJP govt should hang its head in shame. The rapists supporting govt also endorses a misogynist as the head of the @NCWIndia. Under BJP, India truly has become no country for women. #SackRekhaSharma”


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