Centre to Bring Anti-Conversion Law? ‘No’, MHA Tells LS Members
Questioned on the intentions to propose a central Anti-Conversion Law, G Kishan Reddy replied saying, ‘No Sir’.
In a written reply to several members of the Lok Sabha, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday, 2 February said that the Central government does not wish to bring the ‘anti-religious conversion’ law in the country, a law that has been brought in by a few BJP-ruled state governments, against what they call ‘love jihad’.
In a written question to the MHA, Lok Sabha MPs Mohammad Jawed, TN Prathapan, Kumbakudi Sudhakaran, Anto Antony and A Chellakumar asked the MHA a set of five questions in the backdrop of the ‘love jihad’ controversy.
WHAT WERE THE QUESTIONS ASKED?
- Whether the government is of the view that interfaith marriages are happening due to forceful conversions
- If so, whether sufficient evidence has been collected by the government that shows that interfaith marriages in India are connected to instances of forced religious conversion
- If so, the details thereof
- Whether the government intends to propose a central anti-conversion law to curb interfaith marriages
- If so, the details thereof, including the proposed date for introducing such a law
WHAT WAS MHA’S RESPONSE?
In its reply, MoS Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said that public order and police are subjects of states and union territories, and alleged forced religious conversions come under the purview of the states.
‘Public order’ and ‘police’ are state subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. Hence prevention, detection, registration, investigation and prosecution of offences related to religious conversions are primarily the concerns of the state governments/union territory (UT) administrations. Action is taken as per existing laws by the law enforcing agencies, whenever instances of violation come to notice, Reddy said in his reply.
Questioned on the intentions to propose a central anti-conversion law, Reddy simply replied, “No Sir.”
The response from the MHA comes at a time when several states ruled by the BJP are bringing in anti-conversion laws against what some members of the ruling party call ‘love jihad’.
Several cases have been registered in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh since the law has come in place.
The Supreme Court of India on 25 January turned down Uttar Pradesh government’s application to transfer to itself the pleas filed in Allahabad High Court challenging the new anti-conversion ordinance.
The petitions said that the laws, which seek to regulate interfaith marriages and religious conversions, have been criticised for being based on the right-wing conspiracy theory of ‘love jihad’ of Muslim men luring Hindu women to marry for conversion.
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