The Madhya Pradesh cabinet on Saturday accredited a proposed legislation to control interfaith marriages within the state that gives for as much as 10 years in jail for “forcing women, minors, and people from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to undergo religious conversion” with a particular clause on no punitive motion towards these returning to their ancestral faith.
The proposed legislation referred to as the Madhya Pradesh Dharmik Swatantrata (Freedom of Religion) Bill, 2020 says “Paitrik Dharm me Wapsi” (return to the daddy’s faith) is not going to be handled as conversion. “Under this legislation, the re-conversion to the ancestral religion will not be treated as conversion,” stated the draft legislation, defining ancestral faith as the faith of the daddy of the individual on the time of his birth.
Madhya Pradesh house minister Nirottam Mishra stated re-conversion is not going to be a punishable offence below this legislation as it’s further a realisation of a mistake than against the law.
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The proposed laws will exchange the 1968 Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, stated Mishra, and is distinct from the Uttar Pradesh govt’s laws promulgated via an ordinance on November 25. Unlike the MP legislation, the UP ordinance doesn’t offer for parental property rights to youngsters of an interfaith marriage, month-to-month upkeep and a Rs50,000 tremendous for an inter-religion union with out permission of the district Justice of the Peace. In UP, the tremendous quantity is Rs25,000. The jail phrases within the two legal guidelines are equal.
“The bill seeks to prohibit religious conversions or an attempt of conversion by means of misrepresentation, allurement, threat, undue influence, coercion, marriage, and any other fraudulent means. Such a conspiracy and abetting a person for conversion has also been prohibited,” Mishra stated.
According to a draft of the invoice accredited, “The forced conversion of a woman, minor, scheduled caste and scheduled tribe will attract 2-10 years imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs50,000. Mass forced conversion will attract 5-10 years of jail term and fine of up to Rs1 lakh. Burden of proof will lie on the accused.”
“The forceful conversions and marriages will be a cognisable offence and non-bailable. There will be a provision for declaring interfaith forceful marriages and forced conversion null and void. The person and religious gurus have to inform the district magistrate at least 60 days prior to the scheduled date of marriage. The violation of this rule will attract 3-5 years of jail and a minimum fine of Rs50,000,” stated the invoice.
“The MP government has come up with the toughest rule against forced conversion in India. By providing justice to the victim of forced conversion, the proposed legislation will ensure her rights too,” Mishra stated.
Retired excessive court decide AK Gohil stated, “The bill doesn’t have any provision to deal with past cases of forced conversion and also there is no time limit of lodging a complaint with police after marriage. Like the Dowry Prohibition Act, which has a time limit of lodging an FIR up to seven years of marriage, this proposed act should also mention the time period limit for lodging an FIR.”
MP Congress committee spokesperson Narendra Saluja stated, “We welcome this bill but the provisions are more the agenda of the BJP than a real concern for women. The BJP is trying to create a rift in society to win elections.”
Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind state president Hazi Haroon stated, “From the chief minister to BJP MLAs, all the BJP leaders are using the bill as a step against love jihad. BJP leaders are targeting the Muslim community with this bill. If love jihad is really a big issue and crime, they should have mentioned this in the bill. But the state government has not mentioned it as they know that the bill can be easily challenged in a court of law.”
Raising concern, social activist Indira Iyengar stated, “Now, violent incidents against members of the Christian community will increase in the name of re-conversion. In tribal areas, saffron organisation members are already targeting converted Christians. Now, they will get a free hand to threaten people for lodging fake complaints of forced conversion and also for forcing tribal people to re-convert to the Hindu religion.”
MP BJP spokesperson Rajnesh Agrawal stated, “Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan clearly said this bill is a part of the Beti Bachao Abhiyan of the MP government. The bill is against forced conversion, not against conversion. People are free to change their religion by just informing the district magistrate. Congress leaders are nowadays working to misguide people to win their lost political ground. But the citizens of MP are intelligent enough to understand what is right or wrong.”