Representational picture
Representational picture

BHOPAL: In the past three years, more than 9,000 marriages were solemnised under the Special Marriage Act in Bhopal. The state Cabinet has approved the MP Dharma Swatantreya Bill (MP Freedom of Religion), 2020, (Love Jihad) and it will be introduced in the Vidhan Sabha in the three-day session that starts on Monday.

The state government is facing many allegations for bringing the Bill in the Assembly. The Congress party, especially, has raised allegations that the BJP is shedding crocodile tears on the issue.

But, when it comes to numbers, in the past three years, 9,837 marriages were registered in the state capital under the Special Marriage Act, in which ‘inter-faith’, or inter-religion, marriages also took place.

If this is the number of one city, when it comes to the state level, the numbers will increase drastically, but how many Muslim men married Hindu girls, or how many Hindu men married Muslims girl is not clear from the number (9,837).

On Saturday, while briefing about the Bill, home minister Narottam Mishra said the 19-provisions-strong proposed law aims at curbing forced religious conversions and makes religious conversions (including attempt and conspiracy) of any person through enticement, threats, force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or any fraudulent means a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

Sources said that the government has full information about the marriages and, based on the information, the Bill was prepared.

Guidelines soon

  • The in-charge marriage registrar and deputy commissioner, Bhopal Municipal Corporation, Manoj Shrivastava, informed Free Press that, currently, marriages are done according the Special Marriage Act provisions

  • As the new law comes into force after the Assembly notification, marriages will be done accordingly

  • He added that the government would issue detailed guidelines on how to investigate ‘forced marriages and proper marriages’

Even in Covid times!

  • Interestingly, in Covid times, when people were not permitted to come out of their houses, registration of marriages kept happening

  • In May 32, in June 213, in July 267 and in August 206 marriages were registered, while no marriage was registered in the month of April. As the lockdown relaxation was made, people tied the knot

Corona effect

  • In 2018, 3,412 marriages were registered; in the next year, it increased to 4,051 and, in the current year, till the month of October, 2,354 marriages were registered

  • Every year, the number of registrations keeps increasing, but, in the current year, the registration numbers have declined due to corona

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