The Madhya Pradesh (MP) Assembly, on Monday, March 8, passed the Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, which is also called the 'love-jihad' bill. The bill aims to check religious conversions, penalise religious conversion through marriage or any other fraudulent means, and provides for a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
After passing of the bill, the MP home minister Narottam Mishra said, "Such form of love which leads to jihad, hurts sentiments and puts our daughters at risk, we are against all of it. This bill was cleared by the House on Women's Day and we are very happy about it," reported The Indian Express.
This new Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, was passed in the MP assembly with a voice vote and after the law was passed, chants of 'Jai Shree Ram' overtook the assembly hall.
The opposition party Congress strongly opposed the bill in the assembly. Senior Congres leader Dr Govind Singh said that Narottam Mishra introduced the bill in the assembly to come in the good books of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Raising questions on the new bill, Govind Singh said, "Does the Article 21 of the constitution that guarantees personal freedom and liberty and Article 25 that guarantees a person the freedom of choosing the religion of his own will not be violated according to this law?"
In reply to the comment made by the Congress leader, Narottam Mishra said, "I am saddened, how Congress has opposed the bill on the day that marks International Women's Day."
"Congress is only playing politics of appeasement and spreading misinformation," added Mishra.
BJP MLA Yashpal Singh Sisodia emphasised the need for the law and said, "In today's age of social media, a Rafiq identifies himself as Ravi, befriends a girl and gets married in a court until which the innocent girl does not realise how she had been tricked but now new law prohibits religious conversion through fraudulent means."
This new bill also provides for a fine of up to ₹1 lakh.
The Logical Indian Take
Just like the Parliament, which reflects the secular ethos of the country, state assemblies are the places that also reflect the secular ethos.
India is a country of several religions where people follow their religions according to their faith, and the Indian constitution gives people freedom to follow any religion that they find best for them.
As the Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly are also citizens of the country, they are allowed to follow their religion and practices. But, when these public representatives come under the roof of Parliament or the State Assembly, they have to leave their personal faith and religious biases, and be 'secular'.
Any kind of religious biases in these institutions sends out a signal among the citizens of the country which highlights that the state is not secular anymore which violates the constitution of India.
Strict action should be taken by the speaker against those who chanted religious slogan inside the Madhya Pradesh assembly.