Weeks after BJP-ruled Haryana and Karnataka governments said they were considering legislation against 'love jihad', the Madhya Pradesh government has said it is planning to formulate a law to prevent the purported action, which would also make forceful conversions a punishable crime with stringent measures.
MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra said on Tuesday plans were underway to soon formulate a law to deter 'love jihad'.
Love Jihad is a conspiracy theory touted by right wing groups in which they claim Muslim men target women belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by faking love.
"We are planning to table Madhya Pradesh Dharm Swatantrya Bill, 2020 (Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020) in the assembly," Mishra said. He added that the bill would cover the issue of 'love jihad'.
The law would require a mandatory complaint from the parents, and would make the purported offence a punishable crime with the provision of jail term up to five years.
The minister said forceful conversion would also invite jail terms, while those abetting the act would also be tried the legislation. Those converting by will for marriage will be required to apply for the same with the collector one month prior to the marriage, he said.
The bill's new provisions would make "forceful and deceitful" marriage null and void, said the minister.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had recently said 'love jihad' cases will be dealt with sternly in the state and had ordered officials to formulate preventive measures. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently come under fire after he said those involved in 'forced conversion' would be sent to their 'Ram Naam Satya' journey. He had said the state government would work to curb 'Love Jihad' and make a law in that respect.