Guwahati: The President of the Congress party’s Assam unit, Bhupen Bora, has issued an apology for his recent remarks drawing a parallel between ‘love jihad’ and the relationship of Lord Krishna with Rukmini. The statement, which was made while commenting on a tragic triple murder case in Golaghat, had sparked controversy and invited sharp criticism from the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The incident in question occurred on Monday in Golaghat district when a 25-year-old man, belonging to the Muslim faith, murdered his Hindu wife and her parents amid family issues. Chief Minister Sarma swiftly labeled the incident as a case of ‘love jihad,’ a term used by right-wing groups to describe an alleged conspiracy of Muslim men marrying Hindu women to convert them through marriage.
Bhupen Bora, in response to the Chief Minister’s assertion, stated that there are many stories in ancient texts, including Krishna eloping with Rukmini, and that contemporary leaders should refrain from harping on marriages between people of different religions and communities. The comments sparked outrage and led to threats of legal action against Bora.
However, on Friday, Bora issued a public apology for his remarks, stating that he had a revelation in a dream, wherein his grandfather conveyed that the statement was wrong and had caused hurt to the people of the state. He expressed regret and pledged to seek forgiveness by making offerings at a ‘namghar’ (Vaishnavite prayer hall), as a gesture of sincerity.
“In a dream last night, my grandfather told me that the statement was wrong and it has hurt the people of the state,” he told reporters.
“I have, therefore, decided to offer an earthen lamp and betel leaf and areca nut at a ‘namghar’ (Vaishnavite prayer hall) and seek forgiveness from the lord. I will do this not because I am scared of the chief minister or the BJP but as the people and the Sattradhikars (Vaishnav spiritual heads) have been hurt,” he said.
Despite the apology, the BJP’s youth wing, BJYM, has filed police complaints against Bora in all the districts of the state, citing that his remarks have hurt the sentiments of Hindus. The president of the Guwahati city BJYM, Nihar Ranjan Sharma, asserted that Bora made these statements out of fear regarding the future of his party.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had criticized Bora’s remarks earlier and warned that legal action might be taken against him if a police case is filed by someone offended by his comments.
“We do not want to take the step of arresting people, but if Lord Krishna is dragged into controversy, several ‘sanatani’ people will file cases in police stations, and then how will I stop the police from taking action?” Sarma had said.
While ‘love jihad’ remains a contentious term, its use by right-wing groups to allege forced religious conversions through marriage has been a subject of heated debate. The case in Golaghat has once again brought this issue to the forefront, with political leaders engaging in discussions about its implications.
As the situation unfolds, the focus now remains on Bhupen Bora’s symbolic act of seeking forgiveness, and the impact his apology may have on the ongoing debate surrounding ‘love jihad’ and its significance in contemporary society.