The Uttar Pradesh Government has passed an ordinance against the right-wing conspiracy theory of 'Love Jihad' to prevent forced conversions. The ordinance has provisions that can lead the offenders in jail for up to 10 years, and fine up to ₹25,000.
The term Love-Jihad refers to Muslim men, either forcefully or by guile, enter into relationships with Hindu women to forcibly convert them.
"The UP Cabinet has decided to introduce an ordinance against unlawful religious conversions," FirstPost quoted Cabinet Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said.
Singh said punishment under the new law is a jail term from one to five years and a fine of ₹15,000. But if the woman involved is a minor or belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, the jail term would range from three to 10 years, he said. The fine would increase to ₹25,000.
Earlier, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had declared his government would come out with a law to deal with love jihad and threatened the ones who don't respect their daughters and sisters.
"Allahabad High Court said religious conversion isn't necessary for marriage. Govt will also work to curb 'love-jihad'; we'll make a law. I warn those who conceal identity and play with our sisters' respect. If you don't mend your ways, your 'Ram naam satya' (chant associated with Hindu funerals) journey will begin," Yogi Adityanath had said last month.
The ordinance comes at a time when the Allahabad High Court expressed disappointment on the judgements the CM had cited.
"We hold the judgments in the Noor Jahan and Priyanshi (cases) as not laying good law. None of these judgments dealt with the issue of life and liberty of two matured individuals in choosing a partner or their right to freedom of choice as to with whom they would like to live," the court observed.
The high court comments came while it was hearing a case against a Muslim man by the parents of his wife, who converted to Islam last year to marry him.
"Interference in a personal relationship would constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals," the court observed. The case has been cancelled.