In order to put a curb on the rampant cases of forcible religious conversions the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission Chief, Justice Aditya Nath Mittal on Thursday submitted a report to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, suggesting a new law to check forcible religious conversions. Forced conversion can attract a jail term of upto 7 years, according to the new recommendation.
Under the proposal, if one is found to have forcefully converted someone, the person can be jailed for a minimum of one year to a maximum of five years. However, if the person converted is a minor, woman or from the SC/ST community, the jail term extends from two to seven years.
“The report was submitted along with draft legislation, Uttar Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2019,” law commission secretary Sapna Tripathi has told PTI. According to Times of India, ‘reconversion’, or as it is popularly called, ‘Gharvapasi’ might not be a crime at all. The bill also says that in case of marriage, if either party is forced to convert, the conversion as well the marriage would be declared null and void.
The chief opined that the Indian Constitution has given freedom to exercise religion, but some agencies are misusing this freedom and luring people into converting religion in the pretext of marriage, better jobs and lifestyle. To curb this menace there aren’t any existing provisions, Justice Aditya Nath Mittal was quoted as saying.
Justice Aditya Nath Mittal, UP State Law Commission Chief: We don’t have any existing provisions to stop such conversions. That’s why we have recommended new legislation to stop religious conversions, submitted the report to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. (2/2) https://t.co/no4XsYdVHz
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 21, 2019
“The commission is of the view that existing legal provisions are not enough to check religious conversion and on this serious matter, a new law is needed like in 10 other states,” the report said.
Aiming to curb the incidences of religious conversions by means of force, bribes or incentives and duping in check the Uttrakhand cabinet had last year approved the draft bill called ‘Dharm Swatantrata Adhiniyam‘ under which forced and illegal conversions will be a non-bailable offence.
In order to put a check on this growing menace which is also associated with many foreign-funded NGOs, the Modi government has come down hard against the shady NGOs who have been receiving illicit foreign funding to carry out their nefarious designs in India.
Addressing a key issue of religious evangelism carried out by many foreign-funded NGOs, the Home Ministry has modified rules for foreign funding for key officials and members of the NGOs receiving overseas funds in September this year. The government has asked the NGO members and office bearers to attest that they were not prosecuted or convicted for religious conversions.
With these new amendments, the Modi government aims to restrain the menace of pervasive religious evangelism that is often the core objective of many foreign-funded NGOs under the guise of charity and philanthropy.