Updated: February 3, 2021 1:14:16 am
The government has no intention as of now to bring in a Central legislation on “love jihad”, the Lok Sabha was told on Tuesday.
The government was asked whether it “intends to propose a central Anti-Conversion Law to curb interfaith marriages”. In a written reply, Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said, “No, Sir.”
On questions such as whether the government is of the view that interfaith marriages are taking place due to forceful conversions, and whether it has sufficient evidence to prove that, Reddy said, “‘Public Order’ and ‘Police’ are State subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. Hence, prevention, detection, registration, investigation and prosecution of offences related to religious conversions are primarily the concerns of State Governments/Union Territory (UT) administrations.”
The minister also stated in the reply, “Action is taken as per existing laws by the law enforcing agencies whenever instances of violation come to notice.”
The recent laws against “love jihad” in some states have created much controversy over their potential for misuse. There have also been widespread reports of the police harassing interfaith couples in some states on complaints of a mob. Several cases have been registered over the past couple of months in UP and MP where Muslim men have been incarcerated for marrying Hindu women.
Organisations affiliated to the Hindutva ideology have been for years claiming that a project called “love jihad” exists, through which Muslim men lure Hindu women into marriage and then convert them.
Anti-‘love jihad’ laws at smaller scale
Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have recently brought in laws that make weddings for the sole purpose of religious conversion illegal. Himachal Pradesh already has such a law in place. In all three laws, the punishment for forced conversion through marriage, which Hindutva outfits call “love jihad”, is one to five years of imprisonment.
In a recent interview with The Indian Express, RSS general secretary Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi said, “Is it OK to lure someone and then convert them? Today it is happening in many states. First declare yourself as a Hindu, start a relationship and then reveal your true identity while marrying…. there is a difference between love marriage and love jihad… if something is being done through falsehood, there should be a law to deal with it.”
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