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Communalism

MHA Says Centre Has No Plans to Bring Countrywide 'Love Jihad' Law

Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said issues related to religious conversions are primarily the concerns of state governments.

New Delhi: The Centre has no plans to enact an anti-conversion law to curb interfaith marriages, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy said issues related to religious conversions are primarily the concerns of state governments, adding that law enforcement agencies take action whenever such instances of violation come to the fore.

Reddy said in a reply to a written question on whether the government thought and had evidence to prove that interfaith marriages took place due to “forceful conversions”, Reddy put the onus on states.

Also read: An Interfaith Couple Faced Violence, a Miscarriage and Arrest. We Can’t Say ‘No Harm Done’.

“Public order and police are state subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution and hence, prevention, detection, registration, investigation and prosecution of offences related to religious conversions are primarily the concerns of state governments and Union Territory administrations,” he said.

“Action is taken as per existing laws by law enforcing agencies whenever instances of violation come to notice,” he added.

Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have brought ordinances that criminalise forced religious conversions. However, the laws have proven to be open to rampant misuse, especially against interfaith couples who wish to marry of their own accord. In Uttar Pradesh, the law has been used multiple times to harass and jail consenting adult couples, with disastrous consequences including the loss of a pregnancy.

More than safeguard unsuspecting people from forced conversions, the laws have ended up giving legal credence to the Sangh Parivar’s claim of a ‘love jihad’ conspiracy in which Muslim men are accused without evidence of ensnaring women into marriages to convert them.