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Uttarakhand CM orders inquiry into press release after accusations of promoting 'Love Jihad'


DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Sunday ordered an inquiry after controversy erupted over a press release by district social welfare officer of Tehri Garhwal promoting a government scheme for inter-caste and interfaith marriages. 

Darshan Singh Rawat, CM's media coordinator said, "The inquiry has been ordered into the matter as the issue is being taken seriously."

The press release dated November 18 in Hindi by the social welfare officer of Tehri district stated, “To promote communal harmony and social unity, interfaith and inter-caste marriages are of great importance as it will help in bridging gaps among different communities".

“To promote such marriages, the social welfare department gives an incentive of Rs 50,000. The inter-caste or interfaith couples can avail this benefit by applying for the same free of cost at the office of social welfare within one year of the marriage,” said the release.

Earlier, controversy erupted with a section of people attacking the Uttarakhand government of promoting "Love Jihad" responding to which state government officials and the party issued statements. 

The CM instructed the chief secretary of the state to conduct the inquiry to find out under what circumstances the press release was issued by the official. Officials also added that the state government is strictly against "any interfaith marriage with religious conversion".

The officials added that scheme has been in place since the times when Uttarakhand was part of eartswhile Uttar Pradesh since 1976 which later was made applicable to Uttarakhand. 

The actual incentive under the scheme was Rs 10,000 which was increased to Rs 50,000 in 2014 by the then Indian National Congress government through an amendment in the Uttar Pradesh Antarjatiya/Antardharmik Vivah Protsahan Niyamawali, 1976. 

Alok Bhatt, economic advisor to the CM of Uttarakhand Tweeted, "“No one from the government has spoken in support of promoting interfaith marriages. No-one in the BJP government in their wildest dreams will support anything that is made out here".