Uttar Pradesh became the first state to bring an anti-love jihad law after Governor Anandiben Patel on Saturday gave assent to the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020. The law against forcible religious conversion becomes applicable from today in the state to check love jihad.
The ordinance became law after the state government’s approval on a draft ordinance that includes conversion for the sake of marriage and violators can go to jail for up to 10 years. Earlier on Tuesday, Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Minister Siddharth Nath Singh had briefed the media about the cabinet’s decision to introduce an ordinance against unlawful religious conversions.
Under the anti-love jihad law, a marriage will be declared null and void if it is solely for converting one’s religion. Those wishing to change their religion after marriage need to give an application to the concerned district magistrate two months in advance. According to the ordinance, if conversion is done under duress, force, allurement or any other fraudulent means or for the purpose of marriage, it would be a non-bailable offence.
There will be a jail term of three to 10 years with Rs 25,000 penalty in case of conversion of a Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe community minors. In case of mass conversion, offenders can be penalised with a jail term of 3-10 years and a fine of at least Rs 50,000. The government will cancel the registration of a certain social organisation if involved in mass religious conversion.
In recent weeks, BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have announced plans to enact laws to counter the alleged practice of love jihad where Muslim men convert Hindu women to Islam in the guise of marriage.
Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel cleared the bill against forced conversions days after the Allahabad High Court’s landmark judgment on love jihad, which said two adults have the right to choose their life partners. The court had said a person has the right to live with the person of their choice, everyone has a right to life and that personal liberty is guaranteed by the Constitution.