Technocrat E Sreedharan, popularly known as the Metro Man for his role in setting up the Delhi Metro, said on Friday he was opposed to the notion of “love jihad” because he had seen in Kerala that Hindu girls were tricked into marriage. His comments came a day after he announced that he was joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), months ahead of scheduled polls in the southern state.
The 88-year-old man told reporters that his aim was to help the party come to power in Kerala and that he was open to the chief ministership. He also said the focus will be on developing infrastructure if the BJP won the assembly polls likely to be held in April-May this year.
Responding to news channel NDTV on a question about “love jihad”, a term used by right-wing groups to describe relationships between Hindu women and Muslim men, Sreedharan said, “….Love Jihad, yes, I see what is happened in Kerala. How Hindus are being tricked in a marriage and how they suffer… not only Hindus, Muslim, the Christian girls are being tricked in a marriage. Now that sort of a thing I certainly will oppose.”
His comments came amid a fierce debate on “love jihad” and religious conversion, specially after Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh outlawed conversions by fraud, coercion or marriage. Both states are ruled by the BJP.
“Personally, I am a very very strict vegetarian. I don’t even eat eggs so, certainly I don’t like anybody eating meat. That is certain…” he said, in response to a question on beef eating in Kerala and the BJP’s campaign against cow meat.