In a special meeting headed by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday, the Madhya Pradesh Cabinet approves a draft bill against the forceful inter-faith conversions or ‘love jihad’ as MP Freedom to Religion Bill 2020. The move comes ahead of the three-day Assembly session scheduled to begin on December 28. Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government too cleared a similar bill.
Reportedly, under the proposed bill, forcing someone for religious conversion will cost one to five years of imprisonment and a minimum Rs 25,000 fine. In the forced conversion of a minor, a woman or a person from Scheduled Tribe or Scheduled Caste would attract a minimum of 2-10 years of jail term along with a penalty of Rs 50,000.
According to reports, the proposed bill will replace the current MP’s Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam, 1968, law. However, the BJP government claims that the MP’s 1968 Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam law is outdated and is being reworked because of the forced conversions happening in the State for the past 50 years.
However, the difference of MP’s bill to UP’s Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance is that a person converting of his own will does not have to report before the district magistrate. If in a case where a person approaches a priest for such kind of conversion, the priest concerned has to inform the district administration.
Under MP’s new ‘love jihad’ bill, a family court in the state will be allowed to announce marriages conducted for the purpose of religious conversion null and void.
Meanwhile, earlier MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reportedly warned those involved in unethical activities, saying that he will bury them 10 feet deep if they are not leaving the state. He made this remark while addressing a gathering, organized to mark the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.