Maha govt sets up committee to collect information about inter-caste, inter-faith couples
Maharashtra Deputy CM Fadnavis had recently said that his government would study laws on freedom of religion, dubbed as legislations on "love jihad," enacted by other states
The Maharashtra government has set up a committee to gather information about the inter-caste or inter-faith marriage couples and the maternal families of the women involved if they are estranged.
The Government Resolution (GR) issued on Tuesday by the state's Women and Child Development Department said the "Intercaste/Interfaith marriage-family coordination committee (state level)" will be headed by state Women and Child Development Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha.
The committee will monitor district-level initiatives for women involved in such marriages who may be estranged from their families, so that assistance can be provided if necessary," it said.
The committee will be a platform for women and their families to avail counselling and resolve issues, the GR said, adding that the panel will have 13 members from government and non-government fields to study policies of the state and central government regarding welfare schemes and laws related to the matter.
The committee will hold regular meetings with district officials and collect information of registered and unregistered inter-faith and Inter-caste marriages on such marriage that took place in places of worship and marriages took place after elopement.
Last month, minister Lodha had asked the State Women's Commission to set up a special squad to identify women who married without family support and are estranged from them. This decision was taken in view of the Shraddha Walkar murder case.
Walkar was murdered allegedly by her live-in partner Aaftab Poonawala in Delhi in May this year. Poonawala allegedly strangled Shraddha and cut her body into 35 pieces which he kept in a 300-litre fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in Mehrauli in south Delhi, before dumping them across the city over several days.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had recently said that his government would study laws on freedom of religion, dubbed as legislations on "love jihad", enacted by other states, but had not yet decided on introducing a similar law in the western state.
"Love jihad" is a term often used by right-wing activists to allege a ploy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into religious conversion through marriage.
NCP former Minister Dr. Jitendra Awhad pounced on the government with a strong reaction against the decision.
"What's this rubbish of a committee to check inter-caste/inter-religion marriages? Who is the government to spy on who marries whom? In a liberal Maharashtra, this is retrograde, nauseating step. Which way is the progressive state heading to...? Stay away from peoples' private lives," said Dr. Awhad.
(With agency inputs)
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