‘Love Jihad’ Row: Uttar Pradesh Clears Order To Check Forced, Unlawful Conversions, Offenders To Be Jailed

INDIA Team Latestly|

Amid furious nationwide debate over "love jihad", the Uttar Pradesh government on November 24 passed an ordinance to check forced religious conversions. “Love jihad" is the right-wing conspiracy theory that Muslim men enter into relationships with Hindu women to forcibly convert them. The ordinance comes less than a month after CM Yogi Adityanath, while campaigning for UP Assembly bypolls, cited an Allahabad High Court order to invoke "Ram naam satya”, a Hindu funeral chant - to issue a thinly-veiled threat to "those who... play with our sisters' respect". Uttar Pradesh Unlawful Religious Conversion Prohibition Ordinance (2020) says religious conversions that use falsehood, force or an incentive, or take place solely for the purpose of marriage will be declared a crime. Those who plan to convert after marriage, the government said, will have to inform the District Magistrate of their intention at least two months in advance. Burden of proof that the conversion was not forced or for marriage, will be on the person converting, and all cases filed under the ordinance will be non-bailable. According to the ordinance, forced conversion (or conversion through fraud) will be punished by up to five years' imprisonment or a fine of ₹ 15,000. If the forced conversion involves a woman from the marginalised communities, then this will increase to between three and 10 years' jail and a fine of ₹ 25,000. Mass conversions will attract a similar jail term and a fine of ₹ 50,000.

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