Chandigarh: The Haryana government will bring in a Bill against religious conversions through force or fraudulent means, and another one to recover damages to public and private properties from rioters and protesters in the state in the upcoming budget session of the assembly, state home minister Anil Vij said here on Thursday.
Presiding over a meeting of a committee formed to draft the Bill on religious conversion recently, the state home minister had said, “The enactment of this law will prevent any attempt to get religious conversion by force, inducement, bluff of marriage or by any other unethical methods by anyone in the state. Strict action will be taken against the culprits,” he had then said in an official statement.
On Thursday, he told reporters, “We have prepared a draft of the Bill against religious conversions (through force or fraud) and it will be brought in the coming budget session of Haryana Vidhan Sabha.”
The Damage to Public and Private Property Bill will also be brought in the next session, he said, adding that a tribunal will be set up under this framework. “The recoveries regarding damage to public and private properties will be realised within one year which may also include organisers of the event,” he said.
On being asked why the report of a Special Investigation Team constituted by the Haryana government to probe into deaths due to spurious liquor was not being made public, Vij said he has forwarded it to the chief minister for necessary action as per procedure. The opposition has attacked the state government for not making the report public for over three weeks now.
Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh said here recently that more than 40 people died after drinking spurious liquor in November last year and a big liquor scam was exposed in the state. “The SIT has submitted its investigation report to the government, but the government is not ready to make it public as many big names will be exposed,” the Congress leader had said.
On the issue of a law against religious conversions, Vij had recently said Haryana wants to bring in a Bill as soon as possible against religious conversion through force or fraudulent means, as he had directed officers to prepare a draft Bill. Vij had earlier said the “drafting committee” formed to frame the Bill on religious conversion comprised secretary, Home-I Department, T.L. Satyaprakash; additional director general of police Navdeep Singh Virk and additional advocate general Deepak Manchanda.
In November last year, Vij had announced the setting up of a three-member committee to draft a law against “love jihad”, a term used by BJP leaders to describe religious conversions in the guise of marriage. The announcement had come days after the Uttar Pradesh government cleared a draft ordinance against conversion through force or fraudulent means.
The home minister had then told the Haryana Assembly that the state government was considering a law against “love jihad” and had sought information from Himachal Pradesh. The Himachal Pradesh Assembly had passed a Bill in 2019 against conversion by force, inducement or through a marriage solemnised for the “sole purpose” of adopting a new religion.
Replying to a calling attention motion in the Haryana Assembly on the murder of a young woman in Ballabhgarh, Vij had said, “Anyone can marry anyone, anyone can fall in love with anyone. But if there is a conspiracy for changing religion by trapping someone in love, then it is very important to stop that conspiracy. We will take whatever steps are required.”