MP govt to introduce Freedom of Religion Bill to make 'love jihad' non-bailable offence with 5-year jail

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Monday said that the state government would soon bring in a law to counter ‘love jihad’. A Bill will be brought in in the next assembly session to tackle 'love jihad', Mishra said, adding there will be a provision of five years rigorous imprisonment in it.

Narottam Mishra said: "Making preparations to introduce Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020 in Assembly. It'll provide for 5 years of rigorous imprisonment. We're also proposing that such crimes be declared a cognizable and non-bailable offence."

He also said that there will be provision to declare marriages taking place forcefully, out of fraud or by tempting someone, for religious conversion, null and void. Narottam Mishra further added that even those who assist others in doing ‘love jihad’ will also be held guilty under the new law and be punished accordingly. "Those assisting in committing this crime will also be considered a party to the crime," he said.

For voluntary religious conversion, a person will have to apply one month in advance at the Collector's office to register the request. "Under this, the person who has been converted, their parents/siblings will have to mandatorily file a complaint about action. The religious leader who is converting the person will have to inform District Magistrate one month in advance," Narottam Mishra said.

Earlier, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said that “legal provisions” will be made in the state to prevent “love jihad”. “No jihad will be allowed in the name of love. If anyone tries any such thing, they will be set right. And for this, legal provisions will be made,” Chouhan said.

Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that his government will bring a strict law to curb "love jihad" and forcible religious conversion, citing an Allahabad High Court order.

Responding to a query in Lok Sabha in February this year, the Union Home Ministry had clarified the term 'love jihad' is not defined under the existing laws and no such case has been reported so far.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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