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MP: 10-Yr Punishment for ‘Love Jihad’, Clergy to Get 5 Yrs’ Jail

The Madhya Pradesh government has drawn up a bill to punish ‘Love Jihad’ with a 10-year imprisonment

Published
India
3 min read
‘Love jihad’ laws being planned by <a href="https://www.thequint.com/news/india/love-jihad-laws-what-are-the-5-bjp-states-up-mp-karnataka-haryana-assam-planning#read-more">several BJP states</a>.&nbsp;
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The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government in Madhya Pradesh has drawn up a bill to punish ‘Love Jihad’ with a 10-year imprisonment for inter-faith couples who are marrying with the intention to religiously convert.

Couples would get 10 years for the alleged ‘Love Jihad’, but even clerks, maulanas, gurus, priests or any clergy solemnising the marriage would be jailed for a maximum sentence of five years, proposed the MP Dharma Swatantrata Bill 2020 or Freedom of Religion Bill 2020. All cases will be non-bailable.

Madhya Pradesh had announced on 17 November that the proposed bill would provide for rigorous imprisonment of up to five years, but a day after after Yogi government’s announcement of a 10-year imprisonment for the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance on Tuesday, 24 November, the MP government also increased the penalty to 10 years without stating a specific reason for it.

Will Not Allow ‘Love Jihad’ to Happen on MP Soil: CM Chouhan

Narottam Mishra, BJP leader and Cabinet Minister for Home Affairs, Law and Legislative Affairs, Prisons, and Parliamentary Affairs in Government of Madhya Pradesh, spoke to reporters on Wednesday, 25 November about the Dharma Swatantrata Bill 2020 that has been finalised. Narottam Mishra shared photographs on Twitter of chairing a meeting to finalise the draft of the MP Freedom of Religion Bill 2020. The draft had been readied in eight days.

When reporters asked Home Minister Mishra if the government will make the law more stringent, the minister said yes and explained the terms of the ordinance. For voluntary conversion, the couple must apply a month in advance to the collector. If their guardians complain in such a case, those facilitating the marriage will be accused and penalised. Any institution that is found organising such ‘religious conversions’ will have their registration cancelled, reported NDTV.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chouhan announced in Umaria that he will never allow ‘Love Jihad’ to happen in his state. “There is a conspiracy to divide society. I will not allow ‘love jihad’ happen on MP soil,’’ he said.

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Six BJP States Are in Talks to Pass ‘Love Jihad’ Ordinances

Till date, the Modi government, the NCW, the courts and various police investigations have not been able to substantiate the claims of ‘Love Jihad’ being practised by Muslim men and neither is there any available data or definition of ‘Love Jihad’.

Six BJP-led states – MP, UP, Haryana, Assam, Karnataka, and Bihar – are going ahead to implement ‘Love Jihad’ ordinances, which has been mainly criticised as a right-wing narrative that targets inter-faith marriages.

In UP, couples wishing to voluntarily convert have to give two months notice to the district magistrate, and will have to prove the marriage is not forced. All cases will be non-bailable, reported The Print.

The UP ordinance was based on an earlier verdict of the Allahabad High Court’s judgement in an inter-faith marriage. However, hours before the Yogi government passed the ordinance, The HC reversed its judgment to say that “Right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty,” the two-judge HC bench held, adding that “Interference in a personal relationship would constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals.”

(With inputs from NDTV and The Print)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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