MP Assembly clears anti-conversion Bill with 10-year imprisonment
The Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Monday passed the Freedom of Religion Bill 2021, which aims to check religious conversions through marriage or any other fraudulent means in the state. Those convicted under it can reportedly be awarded a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of Rs. 1 lakh. The Bill was cleared by voice vote. Here are more details.
Against love that leads to 'jihad,' says MP minister
Speaking to reporters outside the state Assembly, MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra said, "We are against every such form of love that leads to 'jihad,' hurts our sentiments and puts our daughters at risk (sic)." Notably, "love jihad" is a term used to describe a marriage between a Muslim man and a woman of another religion for the purpose of religious conversion.
Bill was presented in the House on March 1
The Bill had earlier replaced the ordinance, cleared by the state Cabinet last December and promulgated in January. MP Governor Anandiben Patel had, on January 9, given assent to the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020. On March 1, Mishra presented the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill 2021 in the House. After a discussion, the Bill was passed today.
Will not allow forced conversions in MP: CM Chouhan
About the Bill, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had earlier said, "We will not allow forced (religious) conversions in Madhya Pradesh. Many incidents have come to light where minor girls were converted, married, and made to contest panchayat polls (sic)."
23 cases registered in one month in MP
A total of 23 cases had been registered under the said ordinance within one month of it coming into force, Home Minister Mishra had said last month. The highest number of seven cases were reported in the Bhopal area, followed by five in Indore, four each in Jabalpur and Rewa, and three in the Gwalior division, he had reportedly said.
Similar law was earlier passed in UP
To recall, a similar anti-conversion law was earlier passed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh. However, soon after it came into force, several cases of alleged abuse of the law were reported in the state.