On September 29, the Allahabad High Court declined to order police protection to a newly-married couple. The woman, Muslim by birth, had converted to Hinduism a month before their marriage on July 31.

In the order, citing a precedent, the High Court said that religious conversion only for the sake of marriage, without any knowledge of or faith in the religion the person is adopting, was not acceptable.

Though the judgement was delivered in September, it was reported in the media only last week.

On November 1, at a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Adityanath cited this two-page judgement to issue a warning to those who concealed their religious identity to “exploit women” – he said they should mend their ways or be prepared for their “final journey”.

Adityanath also said that his government will stop “love jihad” by bringing in a stringent law.

The term “love jihad” is used by right-wing Hindutva activists as a pejorative for inter-religious marriages between Muslims and Hindus. The term is mostly deployed to allege a conspiracy on part of Muslim men to lure Hindu women through love with the intent of converting them to Islam.

After Adityanath’s statement, the chief ministers of Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, both BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, said...

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