“Love-jihad’ is a conspiracy theory spread by right-wing extremists who claim that Muslim men deliberately marry Hindu women to convert them to Islam.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addresses a press conference at the BJP office in Jaipur Monday Aug 19 2019PTI file image
news Law Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 15:45

After Uttar Pradesh, the BJP-led government in Madhya Pradesh will soon introduce a new law to curb the increase in cases of “love-jihad” in the state. “Love-jihad’ is a conspiracy theory propagated by right-wing extremists who claim that Muslim men deliberately marry Hindu women to convert them to Islam. However, there is no such term under Indian law.

The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, however, is all set to table the Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Bill, 2020 in the upcoming Assembly session. This Bill is aimed at putting an end to incidents of religious conversion and 'love-jihad'. According to the proposed Act there will be a provision of punishment for up to five years for those indulging in or abetting forceful religious conversions.

State Home Minister Dr Narottam Mishra on Tuesday said the state government will introduce a Bill prohibiting marriage on the basis of religious conversions in the state. This Bill, he said, will be passed as the Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Bill, 2020, which declares forceful religious conversions and “love-jihad” as a non-bailable offence wherein the main accused and his/her associates in crime will be awarded a rigorous punishment upto five years.

A few days ago, in a high-level meeting with state officials, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had promised to bring in a law against “love-jihad” in the state. The CM had said love-jihad and marriage on the pretext of religious conversion in any form will not be tolerated as it is an illegal and unlawful activity so a law will soon be made to curb it. Chouhan ordered that strict action be taken against anti-social elements, especially those found indulging in crimes against women and girls.

In addition to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka governments have stated that they will be bringing in laws to prevent “love jihad.” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in October said his government would come out with a law to deal with “love jihad.” 

“We will bring an effective law. It is my warning to those who play with the honour and dignity of sisters and daughters by hiding their real names and identities? If they do not mend their ways, their ‘Ram Naam Satya' journey will start,” Adityanath had said.

A day after Adityanath’s statement, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said the state is also mulling a similar law. 

In the south, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has also said the government will take strong measures to put an end to religious conversion in the name of "love jihad."

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