09/12/2019, 17.12
INDIA
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For Indian Supreme Court, marriages between castes and religions must be encouraged

The Court is in favour of interfaith marriage as long as they are “under the law rules". For Dalit activist, “killing and social boycott” still occur against lower caste grooms. For Catholic activist, there is “fear of miscegenation, of polluting pure upper caste bloodlines.”

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – For the Supreme Court of India, marriages between members of different castes and religions should be encouraged.

Yesterday the Court reacted to a petition by a Hindu man from Chhattisgarh, father of a woman who married a Muslim man who had converted to Hinduism to be accepted by her family. Her father disagreed with the marriage and demanded its annulment.

Lenin Raghuvanshi, Dalit activist and executive director of the Peoples 'Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) in Varanasi, the Court’s statement is something “positive”.

Speaking to AsiaNews, he said “We need to promote interfaith and inter-caste marriage to eliminate caste thinking, sectarianism and patriarchy.”

Discrimination caused by social divisions is still widespread. “Upper caste parents still oppose marriage between their daughters and lower caste or Dalit men”. There is still “killing and social boycott”.

"We aren't averse to interfaith marriages. Hindu-Muslim marriages are also acceptable. If they marry each other under the law, why should there be problems?" said the bench, which included Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah.

For Justice Mishra, "It is also good if caste distinction is done away with. People in so-called high caste and low caste should marry each other. That is even better. They are good for socialism."

India is a Hindu majority country (almost 80 per cent). Muslims are the largest minority (14 per cent). Hindu nationalists oppose mixed marriages and Christians and Muslims are often accused of forced conversions through marriage. Specifically, Muslims are blamed for "Love jihad" or "Romeo jihad", i.e. seducing Hindu women with the promise of interfaith marriage with the aim of converting them to Islam.

John Dayal, general secretary of the All India Christian Council and president of the All India Catholic Union, notes that the Court's opinion is not binding because “it is not a judgement". What is more, it shows “the mind and mindset of the bench” and carries “an implied understanding that other religions are or can be a threat.”

Implicitly, this case is indicative of “the racist, casteist and communal point of view” that is growing in Indian marriages, namely, “the fear of miscegenation, of polluting pure upper caste bloodlines.”

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