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Madhya Pradesh’s So-Called ‘Love Jihad’ Law Comes Into Force

The Madhya Pradesh government on Saturday brought into force the Freedom of Religion ordinance 2020 to allegedly check the rising cases of “love jihad” in the state.

The state cabinet had last month given approval to the Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020, which was scheduled to see passage in the state assembly.

Under this law, there is a provision of awarding a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and a penalty of Rs 1 lakh for ‘forceful’ conversion of any person under the pretext of marriage.

Indulging in collective religious conversion of two or more people would amount to punishment with rigorous imprisonment of five to 10 years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh. On the other hand, the offence related to ‘forceful’ religious conversions would be cognizable and non-bailable, the cases of such religious conversions would be heard in the Sessions Court only.

As per this Anti-Conversion law, a provision has been made that in violation of the prescribed provisions, a person would be punished with rigorous imprisonment of one to five years and pay a fine of Rs 25,000. At the same time, for the ‘forceful’ religious conversion of a woman, minor, Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), a rigorous punishment ranging from two years up to 10 years and a fine of Rs 50,000 would be imposed on the accused. Along with this, there would be a fine of Rs 50,000 and a jail sentence of three to 10 years would be imposed for indulging in religious conversions secretly.

Along with this, strict action would be taken against those associated with running an organisation aiding religious conversions and people associated with such organisations, and there is a provision of jail imprisonment and fines against the accused person.

Words such as love jihad are not mentioned in the anti-conversion bill. However, it has been decided that those voluntarily converting to other religions would have to give information to the District Magistrate 60 days in advance. Failure to provide the correct information would lead to a jail sentence of three to five years and a fine of Rs 50,000.

Also read: ‘No Evidence Against Muslim Man Accused In Forced Conversion Case’: UP Govt To Allahabad HC

Also read: Karnataka To Enact Law Banning Religious Conversion For Marriage

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Written By

Rushda Fathima Khan is the Staff Reporter for The Cognate.

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