The Samajwadi Party attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh for using the term “Love Jihad” for the anti-forced conversion law approved by the Yogi Adityanath cabinet on Tuesday evening. It said that a law on forced conversion is “welcome” but the theory of “love jihad” is “the BJP’s mere political agenda”.
“A stringent law on forceful religious conversion is more than welcome but using the term ‘love jihad’ is a mere political agenda of the BJP. They (BJP) don’t want people to speak about the COVID-19 situation and rampant corruption, growing unemployment and farmer-related issues in the state,” SP lawmaker Sunil Singh Sajan told News18 on Wednesday.
There was already a law prohibiting people from duping, hiding their identity, luring into marriage and forced conversion, Sajan said. “Why did the Adityanath government not work on that law? Because the BJP wants to spread their political agenda and spread hatred in the society to hide their failures and corruption,” the SP leader added.
On Tuesday evening, the CM Adityanath and his Cabinet the draft of a stringent law to deal with religious conversion for the sake of marriage, which BJP leaders refer to as "love jihad". An official spokesperson said the approval for the ordinance was given at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow.
“The UP Cabinet has decided to introduce an ordinance against unlawful religious conversions,” said State Cabinet Minister Siddharth Nath Singh. “The way in which religious conversions are done using deceit, lies, force and dishonesty is heart wrenching, and it was necessary to have a law in this regard.”
Singh said punishment under the new law is a jail term from one and five years, and a fine of Rs 15,000. But if the woman involved is a minor or belongs to a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe, the jail term would range from three to 10 years, he said. The fine would increase to Rs 25,000.
Adityanath had earlier asked officials to formulate a strategy and bring in the ordinance to prevent religious conversions in the name of love. The state Bharatiya Janata Party government had declared it would bring a tough law to tackle what right-wing outfits call ‘love jihad’.