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Thursday, November 26, 2020

After Uttar Pradesh, Haryana hints at law against ‘love jihad’

"Both the Centre and the state government are taking the love jihad issue very seriously... legal provisions are being contemplated so that the guilty cannot escape and no innocent person is punished," Khattar said.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 1, 2020 10:03:54 pm
haryana assembly, bjp govt haryana, manohar lal khattar bjp haryana govt, haryana drug problem, haryana news, latest news, indian expressHaryana Home Minister Anil Vij chaired a meeting with officials of state home department to discuss the modalities for enacting such a law in the state. (File Photo)

A day after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced to formulate a law against “love jihad”, his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar Sunday said his government is also contemplating “legal provisions” against it to ensure such incidents are not repeated. Khattar cited the recent recent murder of a student in Faridabad’s Ballabhgarh to justify the need for such a legal provision.

“This (Ballabhgarh) incident needs to be strongly condemned. This incident is being seen linked with the love jihad issue… both the Centre and the state government are taking the love jihad issue very seriously and legal advice is being taken so that such incidents are not repeated. Legal provisions are being contemplated so that the guilty cannot escape and no innocent person is punished,” Khattar told mediapersons on the sidelines of an event in Karnal.

Last week, Nikita Tomar, a 21-year-old college student, was shot dead outside her college in Ballabhgarh by a man. The victim’s family has alleged that the man was pressuring her to convert to Islam in order to marry him. Some Hindu outfits have alleged that the woman’s murder is a case of “love jihad”.

On Saturday, citing an Allahabad High Court ruling, which said religious conversion for the sake of marriage is unacceptable, Adityanath said his government would come up with a law to deal with “love jihad” and warned those indulging in such activities to mend their ways or be prepared for their last journey.

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij justified Adityanath’s remarks.

“Whatever Yogi Adityanath says, he always speaks the truth. The state government is considering bringing a legislation to deal with cases pertaining to love jihad. Attempts are being made by unscrupulous elements to force people to convert their religion through love jihad. In Faridabad’s Nikita murder case too, the victim’s family have alleged that Nikita was being forced to change her religion. So, we need to think about it,” Vij said.

Vij added, “We shall hold discussions with the allies and also examine legal issues involved. There are certain points on which discussions are required to be held. Further decision shall be taken accordingly.”
He also tweeted that “a law against love jihad is being considered in Haryana”.

“It is a serious issue. If a law is necessary to stop this love jihad, we will bring it,” Vij further said.

A ‘Mahapanchayat’ was organised by various social organisations in Ballabhgarh Sunday to demand justice for Nikita. The Haryana government had set up a three-member special investigation team to probe the case. The police have already arrested three men in the case including the main accused, Tausif.

Vij said that one of the terms of reference of the SIT is to find out if attempts were being made in an organised manner to force people to change their religion. “The SIT shall also be investigating this. The state government is studying various aspects of this love jihad,” he added.

Senior officers told The Indian Express that “discussions were being held at various levels to come up with such a legislation”. Sources said the state government is also in consultation with the Centre to work out the modalities and study legal aspects involved to bring such a legislation.

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