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Opinion

Shivraj Singh Chouhan takes the ordinance route against ‘love jihad’

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Monday that an ordinance to ban questionable interreligious marriages will be enacted on Tuesday after a discussion at a cabinet meeting.

Chouhan’s statement came when journalists asked him if the government would bring an ordinance on interreligious marriages after the winter session of the state assembly was postponed.

“The state government will bring in the Freedom of Religion ordinance on Tuesday,” Chouhan said.

The government was unable to introduce the bill – the Madhya Pradesh Dharmik Swatantrata (Freedom of Religion) Bill, 2020 – on such marriages called “Love jihad” in the winter session of the state assembly, as the session was postponed three-day scheduled for Monday. due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation after an all-party meeting chaired by the president of the protem Rameshwar Sharma on Sunday night.

Although the CM did not elaborate on the ordinance, it likely has all the provisions of the bills, officials said.

Governor Anandiben Patel arrived in Bhopal on Monday and is expected to sign the ordinance, according to officials.

In particular, the bill approved by the state cabinet on Saturday provides up to 10 years in prison for “forcing women, minors and people of scheduled castes and tribes to undergo a religious conversion” with a special clause on no punitive action against returnees. to their original religion.

According to the bill, solemn marriages in violation of the law would be considered null and void and reconversion to the ancestral religion would not be treated as a conversion and a punishable offense.

“Love jihad” is an imaginary right-wing conspiracy theory that Muslim men seduce Hindu women and lure them into marriage with the intention of converting them to Islam.

The proposed legislation was supposed to replace the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act of 1968, according to Madhya Pradesh Interior Minister Narottam Mishra, who briefed reporters after the cabinet meeting on Saturday.

According to Mishra, the bill was different from the Uttar Pradesh government legislation enacted by ordinance on November 25. Unlike the MP bill, the UP ordinance does not provide for the property rights of the parents of the children of an inter-religious marriage, monthly maintenance and a fine of Rs 50,000 for an inter-religious union without permission of the district judge. In UP, the fine is 25,000 rupees.

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