No plan to introduce a central law on the “jihad of love”: the government in Parliament
The government has no plans at this time to pass a central law against religious conversions or interfaith marriages, Lok Sabha said on Tuesday.
The government was asked if it “intends to propose a central anti-conversion law to curb interfaith marriages”. In a written response, Minister of State (Interior) G Kishan Reddy said: “No sir. “
Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh recently passed laws that make marriages illegal for the sole purpose of converting to a religion. Himachal Pradesh already has such a law in place. In all three states, the sentence for forced conversion through marriage – which the Sangh Parivar calls “love jihad” – is one to five years’ imprisonment.
On questions such as whether the government was of the opinion that interfaith marriages occur due to forced conversions and whether it had sufficient evidence to prove the same, MoS Reddy said: Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of the ‘India. Therefore, the prevention, detection, recording, investigation and prosecution of offenses related to religious conversions are primarily the concerns of state governments / Union Territory (UT) administrations. Measures are taken in accordance with applicable laws by law enforcement agencies whenever cases of violations are found. “
State-enacted “jihad of love” laws have sparked much controversy over their potential for abuse. There have also been numerous reports of police harassing interfaith couples simply on the basis of complaints. Several cases have been recorded in the past two months in UP and MP where Muslim men have been jailed for marrying Hindu women.
Organizations affiliated with the Hindutva ideology have claimed for years that there is a project called Love Jihad where Muslim men lure Hindu women into marriage and then convert them.
In a recent interview with The Indian Express, RSS General Secretary Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi said, “Is it okay to attract someone and then convert them? Today this is happening in many states. Declare yourself as a Hindu first, start a relationship and then reveal your true identity by getting married. There is no objection to people falling in love and getting married. But there is a difference between love marriage and love jihad. On the one hand there is love and consensus, on the other hand there is seduction. So if anything is done by lying, there should be a law to deal with it. Now how tough the law should be and who should be protected, only experts can tell. “