As several BJP-ruled states mull on bringing in laws to curb “love jihad” cases, Rajasthan Chief Minister and senior congress leader Ashok Gehlot said such law would be struck down by any court.
Asserting that marriage is a matter of personal liberty, he said, bringing a law to curb it is unconstitutional.
He tweeted on Friday, “Love Jihad is a word manufactured by BJP to divide the Nation & disturb communal harmony. Marriage is a matter of personal liberty, bringing a law to curb it is completely unconstitutional & it will not stand in any court of law. Jihad has no place in love.”
Love Jihad is a word manufactured by BJP to divide the Nation & disturb communal harmony. Marriage is a matter of personal liberty, bringing a law to curb it is completely unconstitutional & it will not stand in any court of law. Jihad has no place in Love.
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) November 20, 2020
He alleged that the party is creating an environment where “consenting adults would be at the mercy of state power”. “Marriage is a personal decision & they are putting curbs on it, which is like snatching away personal liberty. It seems a ploy to disrupt communal harmony, fuel social conflict & disregard constitutional provisions like the state not discriminating against citizens on any ground,” he added.
Till now, the states of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have expressed concerns over the rising number of cases of “love jihad” and announced their plans to introduce bills.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra Tuesday said the state government is planning to introduce one such bill in the next assembly session. The Bill, to be called Dharma Swatantrya (Freedom of Religion) Bill, 2020, proposes five years of rigorous imprisonment for “luring a person through fraud and forcing marriage by religious conversion” Mishra told reporters, adding that such an offence would be non-bailable.
On the same day, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij too chaired a meeting with officials of state home department to discuss the modalities for enacting such a law in the state. Later in the day, Vij said, “A strict law will be enacted to control love jihad cases in Haryana. A committee shall be constituted to draft this law.”
A subsequent discussion on the subject will also be held with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
“With the enactment of this law, strict action will be taken against any person who is found indulging in religious conversion by pressuring, tempting someone or is involved in any kind of conspiracy or trying to do so in the name of love. Haryana will also study the laws made by other states on the same subject,” Vij said, adding that the “officers of home department and Advocate General besides various other officers concerned with the subject shall be part of the committee that will be constituted soon”.
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Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too had disclosed that his government was working to bring a strict law to curb incidents of “love jihad”.
Referring to the Allahabad High Court’s remark that conversion “just for the purpose of marriage” was unacceptable, Adityanath had said, “Allahabad High Court said religious conversion isn’t necessary for marriage. Govt will also work to curb ‘love-jihad’, we’ll make a law.” Issuing a warning against “love jihad”, Adityanath said, “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.”
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