"Marriage is a matter of personal liberty and bringing a law to curb it is completely unconstitutional," Ashok Gehlot tweeted on Friday.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at a press conference
news Controversy Friday, November 20, 2020 - 16:25

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday said "love jihad'' is a term manufactured by the BJP to divide the nation and disturb its communal harmony. In a series of tweets, the Rajasthan Chief Minister said that marriage is a matter of personal liberty and bringing a law to curb it is "completely unconstitutional."

"Love Jihad is a word manufactured by BJP to divide the Nation & disturb communal harmony. Marriage is a matter of personal liberty, bringing a law to curb it is completely unconstitutional & it will not stand in any court of law. Jihad has no place in Love, (sic)" Gehlot wrote on Twitter. "They are creating an environment in the nation where consenting adults would be at the mercy of state power. Marriage is a personal decision & they are putting curbs on it, which is like snatching away personal liberty."

"It seems a ploy to disrupt communal harmony, fuel social conflict & disregard constitutional provisions like the state not discriminating against citizens on any ground," he added.

Gehlot remarks followed announcements by BJP-led governments in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh that they are considering to enact a law against "love jihad," which is a conspiracy theory spread 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 in Madhya Pradesh recently announced plans 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.

Also read: Lawyers collective condemns announcements by BJP-ruled states on laws against 'love jihad'

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