Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], November 30 (ANI): We are bringing a law to curb "forced religious conversions" that take place in the "garb of love", said Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday referring to the 'love jihad' related offences.
In a tweet earlier today, Chouhan said (roughly translated from Hindi): "Some people influence naive young girls and marry them. Later the cycle of religious conversion is created. Such acts will not work under the garb of love. We are bringing a law to curb this. Women's empowerment is my pledge to this state."
Amid the uproar over 'love jihad', Madhya Pradesh cabinet minister Arvind Bhadoria had earlier said religious conversions were being funded by foreign countries and termed it a conspiracy against India.
"Love-jihad and religious conversions are being funded by foreign countries. It's a big conspiracy against India. Madhya Pradesh government is bringing a strict law on 'love jihad'. The women who were exploited in the garb of it and abandoned later should be rehabilitated. Unless strong laws are not brought the menace of Love Jihad will continue," Bhadoria told ANI on November 26.
Madhya Pradesh government has proposed a maximum punishment of 10 years for so-called 'Love Jihad'-related offences, in its new ordinance. With this, the state government has doubled the jail term in its proposed Freedom of Religion Bill 2020. It had earlier proposed a five-year jail term.
Under this new proposed ordinance, there will be a provision of punishment of up to 5 years for the religious leaders, Qazi or Maulvi who have preformed religious conversion before submitting the application. The complaint of conversion and forced marriage can be made by the victim, parents, family or guardian.
The Union Home Ministry on February 4 this year clarified that the term 'love jihad' is not defined under the existing laws and no such case has been reported so far. No such case was reported by any of the central agencies yet.
However, two cases from Kerala involving inter-faith marriages have been investigated by the National Investigation Agency, according to the Home Ministry. (ANI)