The Haryana government, led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, passed the 'Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religious Bill, 2022' amid solid Opposition from Congress staged a walkout. The government cites that the Bill aims to prevent religious conversions "through force, undue influence or allurement". On the other hand, former Chief Minister Bhupendra Singh Hooda said that such a law would trigger communal disputes in inter-religious marriages in the state. Much like other BJP-governed states, the onus of proving oneself innocent lies on the shoulder of the accused.
What Does The Bill Propose?
If the conversion was done by allurement, use of force, fraudulent means of coercion, then there is a provision of imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of not less than Rs 1 lakh. Similar bills have been passed in the recent BJP-ruled states, including Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, The Indian Express reported. While the CM backed the Bill, saying that it would instil 'fear' among those who do wrong, the Opposition said that the move would further deepen the communal divide. The Bill seeks to "prohibit religious conversions which are effected through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage or for marriage by making it an offence".
'Infringing The Personal Liberty'
The Bill was tabled in the Assembly on March 4 and was taken up on Tuesday. Congress MLA Raghuvir Singh Kadian said that the Bill speaks of divisive policies, and such a move would be of no use to future generations. Moreover, he highlighted the displacement of several people during the partition in 1947 and urged the government to forward the Bill to a select committee of experts in the Vidhan Sabha. Congress's Kiran Choudhry further added that marriage was a personal domain, and the proposed legislation would infringe on a person's liberty.
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