The Haryana government will bring a bill against religious conversion by force, inducement or through marriages solemnised for the sole purpose of adopting a new religion, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said on Tuesday.
He also said that if needed, the existing cow protection law in the state will be made more stringent. Speaking to reporters in Nuh, Khattar said there have been complaints that a handful of people indulge in cow slaughter. There have also been complaints about instances of religious conversion in Nuh.
Khattar said that while one has the right to adopt any religion, conversion by force, inducement, etc. are not tolerable. The Right to Freedom of Religion Bill will be brought in which there will be provisions against conversion by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, inducement, marriage or any fraudulent means, Khattar said.
"Strict action would be taken against those involved in forcible conversions," he said. He also said a board would be constituted to look after the "religious assets of Hindus in those areas where they are in minority. This work would be done according to the demand of the people of the area concerned".
The chief minister said that various steps were being taken by the state government for maintaining mutual brotherhood and social harmony among the communities.
Khattar said that one issue which sometimes creates wedge and disharmony between two communities is when some people indulge in cow slaughter.
He said the state government has decided to hold trials against accused in cow slaughtering cases in fast-track courts in a bid to curb such incidents.
He said that to curb incidents of cow slaughter in Haryana and to take strict and prompt action against the accused, hearings of all such cases would be held in fast-track courts.
Though Haryana has a stringent cow protection law, Khattar said, it does not deter people at times.
"Recently, 2,550 pieces of cow hides were recovered from a village... If needed, amendments would also be made in the Haryana Gau Sanrakshan and Gau Samvardhan Act, 2015, to ensure protection of cows," he said.
Earlier, the chief minister held a meeting with district officials and representatives of various social and religious organisations, a state government statement said here.
He appealed to the people that they should continue to maintain social harmony that has been prevalent through the ages by strengthening the spirit of brotherhood.
He said the state government plans to set up a unit of the India Reserve Battalion in Nuh district. The IRB battalion based at Gurugram will be shifted to Nuh and a new women IRB battalion will be established in Gurugram.