In order to make an effective law to deal with forced religious conversions, the Madhya Pradesh government is introducing some stringent provision in the proposed law against forced religious conversions. According to reports, some new provisions added in the law will cover institutions like madrassas, churches and schools.
As per the new provisions, if an institution is found indulging in or aiding love jihad (grooming jihad) or forced religious conversion, the government may withdraw the aid provided to them. The proposed law will also empower the government to withdraw any land allotted to such institution. The Bill is expected to be passed in the last week of this month in the State Assembly.
Marriages solemnised solely for conversion to be null and void
The provisions have been introduced to cover the cases where religious institutions are found indulging cases of Grooming Jihad or forced conversion. The proposed Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act bill provides a punishment of up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine up to 1 lakh in case of conversion through marriage or by any other fraudulent means.
Marriages solemnised solely for the purpose of religious conversion will be declared null and void under the proposed law. Mass religious conversion (of 2 or more people) will attract 5-10 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 1 lakh.
Government officials informed that after the proposed law is enacted, a person willing to convert to another religion would need to submit a declaration before a District Magistrate at least one month in advance.
Anti-conversion law part of Beti Bachao Abhiyan: CM
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had reportedly held a meeting on 5th December to discuss the proposed law. The Chief Minister said that bill was part of the state government’s Beti Bachao Abhiyan. “It is easy to mislead young girls with malicious intent. Later, their life becomes hell. Dharma Swatantrya Bill 2020 is our Beti Bachao Abhiyan”, he said.
The Pro-tem speaker of Madhya Pradesh Assembly Rameshwar Sharma said that love jihad causes communal disharmony and the agencies involved in love jihad are working to disturb the peace and establish Pakistan sponsored religious fanaticism. He said that such agencies need to be dealt with under the law.
Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government had enacted an anti-conversion law to deal with the menace of Grooming Jihad and forced religious conversions. Several cases were registered as soon as the law was passed.