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Opinion

From 5 years in jail to crime without bail: what the states say about the ordinance against ‘love jihad’

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Several states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, have said they will enact laws to curb “love jihad”, described by Hindu activists as an organized conspiracy by Muslim men to deceive Hindu women. . in marriages and cause demographic change.

The Madhya Pradesh government said Tuesday that a bill will be passed in the next session of the state assembly against “love jihad.” There will be a provision of five years in prison for forced conversions by marriage. The Haryana government also indicated on the same day that it will set up a committee of officials to study and draft the law for this purpose. Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have also said they will introduce legislation to end the jihad of love.

However, according to experts, the accusations of “love jihad” are false and that adult men and women are free to convert under the right to freedom of religion. In February, the central government told Parliament that there was no definition of the term and that the agencies did not report such cases.

States governed by Congress have opposed the introduction of such legislation.

Read also | ‘Love Jihad’, a term created by BJP to divide nation: Gehlot

This is what states want to do against “love jihad”:

Uttar Pradesh

UP’s Department of the Interior has submitted a proposal to the state law department for a strict law to deal with the alleged religious conversion of women in the name of marriage. The PTI news agency quoted a government spokesperson that a strict bill against “love jihad” has been sent to the legal department.

This came after Prime Minister Yogi Adityanath said earlier this month that his government plans to introduce a law to regulate interfaith marriages involving Muslim men and Hindu women, citing an order from a higher court to promise that his administration would insure and protect women in the state. .

Read also | In defense of the right to choose love

Taking serious note of these incidents [of forceful conversion and cruelty], the CM has ordered that a concrete strategy be developed to control these types of incidents. This has often been seen to be done in an organized manner. If necessary, an ordinance can be requested, ”an official told the PTI news agency. Last year, the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission submitted a report to Adityanath, suggesting “a new law to control forced religious conversions.” The Kanpur police had also set up a special investigation team to investigate “love jihad” cases.

Madhya pradesh

The central state Interior Minister Narottam Mishra had said on Tuesday that the Madhya Pradesh Dharm Swatantrey (Freedom of Religion) Bill, 2020, will be passed at the next session of the state assembly. Mishra said the law, with a five-year jail provision for forced conversions for marriage, was necessary due to the increase in cases of love jihad. He insisted that the BJP government was not against interfaith marriages, but only against incidents of love jihad.

Read also | Madhya Pradesh’s new bill likely to replace the 1968 law

“We are going to introduce the Madhya Pradesh Dharm Swatantrey bill, 2020, in this winter session in December against love jihad, which means that a woman is forced or lured by a person of another religion to marry and then tortured for your conversion. ” Mishra said.

The proposed law does not mention any particular religion in its provisions. Mishra said the bill proposes a rigorous imprisonment for five years for “luring a person through fraud and forcing marriage through religious conversion.” Other proposed provisions include requiring family members of the person being converted for the purpose of marriage to file a complaint.

“Conversions and forced marriages will be a recognizable and inalienable offense. There will be a provision to declare such marriages null and void, ”Mishra said. In addition, those who collaborate in such acts will be co-accused in the case, he added.

Haryana

Haryana Interior Minister Anil Vij said the state government intended to set up a committee of officials to study and draft a law against love-jihad. “We will first have a discussion with the chief minister, ML Khattar, in this regard,” Vij said. Vij said a representative from the attorney general’s office would also be part of the committee. This committee will study similar laws enacted by other states, he added.

Karnataka

BJP National Secretary General CT Ravi said on Friday that the ban on “love jihad” and the slaughter of cows would be a reality in Karnataka very soon. Ravi, a former Karnataka minister, said a law would be passed in the next assembly session prohibiting both practices. He said that there are serious deliberations in government circles, as BJP state chairman Nalin Kumar Kateel has also urged Prime Minister BS Yediyurappa to take action on this.

Read also | RSS promotes the law on interfaith marriage

“Love Jihad and the cow slaughter ban have been approved by the BJP central committee. The clamor to introduce a law banning the slaughter of cows has grown louder. We intend to do so, ”said the Chikkamagaluru legislator during a press conference.

Ravi had said earlier this month that, along the lines of the Allahabad High Court order, Karnataka would enact a law that would ban religious conversions for the sake of marriage. The Allahabad High Court had said in its order of October 31 that religious conversion by the simple fact of marriage was not valid. “We will not remain silent when jihadists strip the dignity of our sisters,” Ravi had said, adding that anyone involved in any act of conversion would face severe and swift punishment.

Also read: Stop attacking interreligious marriages | HT Editorial

Bihar

Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Friday supported the implementation of the law against “love jihad” in Bihar, saying that the issue has become a cause of trouble in many states. The BJP leader asked the Nitish Kumar government to understand that issues such as “loving jihad” and population control have nothing to do with communalism, but are a matter of social harmony.

Singh told reporters that “the love of jihad” should be seen as a problem not only among Hindus but also among all non-Muslims in all states of the country. He said that in Kerala, where there is a large population of Christians, community members have expressed concern about this development.

(With contributions from the agency)

Hindustan Times

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