At least five BJP-led states have, so far, said they are planning to bring in laws to curb ‘Love Jihad’, a right-wing conspiracy theory that accuses a larger plot by Muslim men to feign love to non-Muslim women and convert them to Islam.
Till date, the Modi government, the NCW, the courts and various police investigations have not been able to substantiate the claims of ‘Love Jihad’ being practised by Muslim men and neither is there any available data or definition of ‘Love Jihad’.
So, what exactly are the BJP-led states planning and what will entail in the new laws? Let’s take a case-by-case look:
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday, 17 November said that the state government is considering to bring legislation against ‘love jihad’.
“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 cognisable and non-bailable offence”
MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra to ANI
The Madhya Pradesh home minister further stated that marriages taking place out of fraud or by “tempting someone” for religious conversion will be considered null and void.
“Those assisting in committing this crime will also be considered a party to the crime,” he said.
What does this mean? The new law, slated to be introduced in the upcoming winter session, could be an amendment to the 1968 Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act that had a maximum punishment of two years for forced conversion.