Editorial: Attacks on interfaith couples: The moral police again


The increasing threat to individual rights, as enshrined in the Constitution, is evident across states, where the mob often acts as a self-styled moral police.

Recent incidents in Karnataka highlight the disturbing intolerance towards inter-faith relationships, emphasizing the need for a robust response from the criminal-justice machinery.

The notion of "love jihad" further exacerbates this issue, necessitating comprehensive action. Two incidents, one in Belagavi and another in Haveri district, where individuals were assaulted based on mistaken perceptions of inter-faith relationships, underscore the urgent need for addressing this menace.


A broader response:

While the law is expected to take its course, the recurrence of such incidents, the casual recording and online distribution of violence, demand a broader response. Governments, irrespective of political affiliations, must draw clear lines, disallowing any hint of support for such acts. The misuse of technology, as seen in the Haveri case, underscores the necessity for enhanced police capabilities in dealing with cybercrime. Additionally, campaigns addressing the stigma attached to victims of sexual violence and the low conviction rate in crimes against women require urgent attention.


The protection of individual freedom of choice is paramount, emphasizing the need for a collective effort from the political class and civil society. Leaders and parties must unequivocally denounce acts of violence, upholding the constitutional values and preventing the sacrifice of individual choices due to narrow prejudice.


The rise of mob-driven threats to individual rights, particularly concerning inter-faith relationships, presents a critical challenge across states. 


Recent incidents in Karnataka expose a disturbing intolerance, necessitating a robust response against the perceived threat of "love jihad." Two cases in Belagavi and Haveri underscore the urgency for comprehensive action and protection of constitutional values.


Arguments in Favor:

  • Urgent Legal Response: A prompt legal response is crucial to ensure justice for victims and to establish a deterrent against potential perpetrators.
  • Political Accountability: Governments, regardless of political affiliations, must unequivocally condemn such acts, delineating clear boundaries to prevent any tacit support.
  • Technology Regulation: The misuse of technology, exemplified in the Haveri case, underscores the need for heightened police capabilities to combat cybercrime effectively.
  • Awareness Campaigns: Initiatives addressing the stigma associated with victims of sexual violence are essential to foster a more supportive environment and encourage reporting.


Arguments Against:

  • Lack of Government Action: Despite promises of action against such crimes, the Karnataka government, under Chief Minister Siddaramiah, appears to have fallen short, necessitating accountability.
  • Political Whataboutery: The State Home Minister's response, engaging in whataboutery by referencing crimes during a previous government, detracts from addressing the immediate issue.
  • Equivocation on Inter-faith Relationships: Some leaders have been ambiguous in their stance on inter-faith relationships, undermining the unequivocal protection of individual freedoms.
  • Low Conviction Rate: The abysmal 26% conviction rate for crimes against women in India points to systemic shortcomings in the investigating and prosecuting agencies.


Landmark Judgment:

In the context of safeguarding individual freedoms, the landmark judgment in the case of "Shakti Vahini v. Union of India (2018)" stands out. The Supreme Court, in this case, emphasized the right to choose a life partner as a fundamental right, highlighting the need to protect individual autonomy in matters of love and marriage. This judgment serves as a significant legal precedent underlining the importance of upholding the freedom of choice in personal relationships.



The imperative to safeguard individual freedom of choice is underscored by arguments in favor, emphasizing legal, political, and technological measures. Counterarguments highlight the need for government accountability, clear stances on interfaith relationships, and systemic improvements in the criminal justice system. The "Shakti Vahini'' judgment reinforces the constitutional importance of protecting individual choices in personal relationships. The resolution lies in a collective effort from the political class and civil society to uphold constitutional values and shield individual choices from narrow prejudices.


Interfaith Relations: Governance, Law Enforcement, and Social Justice Perspectives in GS Paper 2:

The discussion emphasizes the need for a comprehensive response from the criminal-justice machinery, tackling issues like the misuse of technology and online distribution of violence, thereby delving into aspects of governance and law enforcement. It underscores the importance of a collective effort from the political class and civil society, linking to the social justice component of GS Paper 2.


The reference to the notion of "love jihad" and the urgency for comprehensive action points to the intersection of societal beliefs and legal frameworks, highlighting the importance of constitutional values in the context of personal freedoms. The article draws attention to the role of leaders and political parties in unequivocally denouncing acts of violence, connecting it to the broader themes of political accountability and governance.


The arguments in favor and against provide a nuanced understanding, touching upon legal responses, political accountability, technology regulation, and awareness campaigns. These aspects are crucial components of the governance and social justice discourse, which UPSC aspirants need to comprehend for the examination.


The article encapsulates the multifaceted dimensions of governance, constitution, social justice, and legal frameworks concerning the protection of individual rights in the context of interfaith relationships. Aspirants should approach this content with a comprehensive understanding of these themes to excel in the examination.


Imp for: UPSC Prelims, UPSC GS Mains Paper II

Topic: Issues related to the protection of individual rights, intolerance towards inter-faith relationships, and the role of the criminal justice machinery.



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