Uttar Pradesh Governor, Anandiben Patel, on Saturday (November 28), approved The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religious Ordinance, 2020, which is more popular as the law against alleged ‘love jihad’, a term used to describe luring and conversions of women on the pretext of love and marriage.
The Ordinance passed by the UP government comes into immediate effect across the state. The law disallows religious conversion by means of “misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage”.
The law states that a marriage done with the sole intention of religious conversion will be declared “null and void”.
“Those getting the conversion done in violation of the provisions of the proposed law would have to face jail term of up to 10 years,” the government said in a statement. Conversion done “forcibly, through atrocity or cheating” will be a non-bailable offence.
Other BJP-ruled states, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, have also said they will bring a law to counter “love jihad”. Last month, the Allahabad Court had ordered that religious conversion due to marriage is unacceptable. It was after this that Uttar Pradesh and other BJP-ruled states opposed what they call ‘love jihad’. The Opposition has criticised such a move as a breach on personal liberty.
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday said his party will oppose the state government’s bill on religious conversions when placed in the assembly for passage.
He also sought to know its relevance when the state has schemes to encourage inter-caste and inter-faith marriages. The government does not want to debate on more important issues due to which it brought the ordinance, he said, alleging that it is creating hatred and chasm in society.
(With inputs from PTI)