Days after Yogi Adityanath government cleared the draft ordinance against unlawful religious conversions, the Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel also gave her assent to the ordinance on Saturday. Soon after the approval by the Governor, the ordinance has come into force in the state. The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 has been promulgated with the approval of the Governor, an official said.
The Bill against unlawful conversion named Vidhi Virudh Dharmantaran 2020, which has been promulgated with the approval of the Governor, will now land offenders in jail for up to 1 to 5 years and attract a fine of Rs 15,000. Moreover, under the new law, the offender’s proven guilty for mass conversion will attract a jail term of 10 years.
Uttar Pradesh government approves ordinance against unlawful religious conversions
In a cabinet meeting, headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on November 24, the government had cleared the ordinance against forced conversions, which the Yogi Adityanath government has been mulling ever since the cases of the purported crime had been gaining its foothold in the state.
The new law will also make it mandatory for people who want to marry outside one’s own religion to get prior permission from the District Magistrate of the concerned district. For this, two months advance notice has to be given prior to the marriage. It also says that the person who flouts the rule would be entitled to a fine of Rs 10,000 and may attract a jail term of 6 months to 3 years. Moreover, the marriage forcefully for religious conversion by either fraud or cheating will be declared null and void.
With the recent spate in such crimes where Muslim men pretend to be Hindu to lure Hindu girls into relationships, a phenomenon dubbed as ‘love jihad’ (Grooming Jihad), many BJP ruled states like Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have decided to deal strictly with the offenders and bring the law to curb this emerging menace too.
Madhya Pradesh and Haryana government to also bring law against the crime
Like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh government led by Shivraj Chouhan is also in no mood to spare the perpetrators who indulge in forceful religious conversion through fraudulent means under pretext of love. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra had earlier said that the government is preparing to introduce Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020 in Assembly which would provide for 5 years of rigorous imprisonment to the perpetrators who coerce vulnerable girls to convert their religion, either by allurements, force or fraudulent means.
Similarly, the Haryana government has been mulling over introducing a law to deal with the cases of love jihad. The gruesome murder of a 21-year old college student named Nikita Tomar in broad daylight due to attempted love jihad in Mewat had necessitated Haryana Government to take some stringent action to stop the growing menace in the state.