Amid protest from opposition parties, the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed by voice vote a bill to curb religious conversions on Wednesday, February 24.
The bill aims at curbing religious conversions through fraudulent or some other undue means, including marriage.
The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2021 seeks to replace the ordinance released last November that calls for up to 10 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 for violators, The Indian Express reported.
The bill was passed in the House even after the chief of the Congress Legislature Party, Aradhana Misra, and the BSP leader in the Assembly, Lalji Verma, opposed it.
According to the bill, a marriage will be considered "null and void'' if the conversion is solely for that reason, and those seeking to change their faith following marriage need to appeal to the district magistrate.
The bill primarily states that no person should either directly or indirectly convert from one religion to another by misrepresentation, compulsion, undue power, coercion, attraction or through any dishonest means or by marriage, nor should any person promote, persuade or conspire to such conversion.
The onus will be on the person accused of the act to prove that the conversion was not forcefully performed, it said.
As per the bill, an aggrieved party, his/her parents, brother, sister, or any other person who is related to him/her by blood, marriage or adoption can lodge an FIR on such conversion.
BJP leaders said the law aims to fight suspected attempts to convert Hindu women to Islam in the guise of marriage.