DNA Exclusive: Love Jihad Politics On Karnataka College Girl Murder Case

New Delhi: Neha Hiremath, daughter of Congress Corporator Niranjan Hiremath was stabbed to death by Fayaz, a former friend and classmate on April 18 on a college campus in Karnataka’s Hubbali. The murder case has sparked outrage in Karnataka over the past two days.

In Today’s DNA, Zee News anchor Ram Mohan Sharma analysed the ongoing ‘Love Jihad’ politics surrounding the college girl’s murder in Karnataka.

 It all began with the emergence of a video from BVB College, Hubli, showing a boy attacking a girl with a knife. Due to the sensitive nature of the video, we cannot provide it in full. However, this incident has heated up everything from the streets to the political landscape of the state. The victim, Neha, daughter of local Congress councilor Niranjan Hiremath, was murdered, and the alleged attacker, Fayaz, is a Muslim. The case has been associated with allegations of ‘Love Jihad’.

Neha and Fayaz both studied BCA at the same college, although Fayaz had dropped out. Neha was pursuing MCA at the time of her murder. Conflicting narratives surround the case. Neha’s father and the opposition BJP claim it’s a case of Love Jihad, while the Karnataka government maintains it’s solely a murder case.

The political storm intensified when Neha’s father, Niranjan Hiremath, accused ‘Love Jihad’ of being behind his daughter’s murder. He claimed Neha was pressured to convert her religion. According to him, Neha and Fayaz were college friends, not romantically involved. Allegations surfaced that Fayaz and his associates were pressuring Neha to convert.

Neha’s father’s accusations sparked widespread outrage in Karnataka, particularly with the mention of ‘Love Jihad’. ABVP and other organizations demanded stringent action against Fayaz and his accomplices. Protests erupted in various parts of Karnataka, including Hubli, Kalaburagi, and Dharwad, with demands for a thorough investigation and the arrest of the others involved.

Contrary to Neha’s father’s stance, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the state government view the case purely as murder. Fayaz’s mother stated that Neha and Fayaz were in a relationship and wanted to marry. Despite being distressed by her son’s actions, she apologized on his behalf.

Both Fayaz’s and Neha’s fathers expressed regret over the tragic incident. Fayaz’s father, Babasaheb Subani, disclosed that Neha’s father had previously complained about Fayaz harassing Neha. However, Fayaz later revealed to his father about his relationship with Neha and the subsequent altercation. The Karnataka Police are investigating both angles, though the state government does not categorize it as Love Jihad.

The term ‘Love Jihad’ is often invoked when a Muslim individual is accused of enticing a non-Muslim into a relationship for religious conversion. Given the Hindu victim and Muslim accused in Neha and Fayaz’s case, politicians have swiftly weighed in.