Uttar Pradesh’s Legislative Council on Thursday, 25 February, passed the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2021, commonly known as the ‘Love Jihad’ bill, amidst opposition by members.
The bill was passed by voice vote in the 100-member UP Legislative Council, a day after it got the nod in the Assembly, reported news agency PTI.
The bill was tabled in the Upper House, where Leader of Opposition Ahmed Hasan of Samajwadi Party and Congress’s Deepak Singh asked for it to be sent to a select committee after pointing out key shortcomings, added the report.
SP Members Tear Copies of Bill
SP leader Shashank Yadav labelled sections of the bill against “values of the Constitution”. He added that there are laws already in place to prevent forced religious conversion, the report added. Yadav stated that in spite of consent from both parties, cases were being registered against couples by the UP Police.
Leader of the House and UP Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma stated that the law must not be misused, adding, "This (law) is not related to any particular religion. If any Hindu indulges in an act like this, he is also eligible for punishment. This law has been brought so that no one can be influenced or harassed to change religion”, quoted the report.
The proposal of amendments given by the Leader of the Opposition and SP members was rejected by Chairman Kunwar Manvendra Singh for not being as per law. However, amidst outrage by SP members, Singh declared the bill was passed by voice vote, added the report.
SP members then tore copies of the bill near the well of the House, following which the House was adjourned for ten minutes.
Uttar Pradesh adopted an anti-conversion ordinance in November 2020 as an apparent solution to 'love jihad'.
The ordinance had proposed for a jail term of 1-5 years with a Rs 15,000 penalty for forceful religious conversion. For conversions of minors and women of SC/SC community, there will be a jail term of 3-10 years with Rs 25,000 penalty.
(With inputs from PTI)