Assembly passes bill to control forced religious conversions : The Tribune India



Tribune press service

Pradeep Sharma

Chandigarh, March 22

Following in the footsteps of several BJP-ruled states including Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the Haryana Assembly today passed a bill aimed at preventing forced religious conversions amid a walkout by the opposition Congress, which called the law a “political agenda” of the BJP.

Will instill fear among criminals

The bill aims to instill fear among those who commit crimes. The sole purpose is to control forced religious conversions. Manohar Lal Khattar, Chief Minister

No need for new law

The bill is part of the BJP’s divisive agenda. It is not necessary to pass a new law when adequate punitive provisions exist in the current law. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former CM

Launching a scathing attack on the BJP-led government for its agenda to ‘divide society along religious lines’, opposition leader Bhupinder Singh argued there was no need for a new law then that adequate punitive provisions existed in the current law.

Calling the bill a “black chapter” in the state’s history, Kiran Chaudhry (Congress), said it would deepen the community divide and could have serious consequences.

However, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar claimed the bill was aimed at instilling fear among those who committed crimes.

The CM said a person could change their religion of their own free will, but it would not be allowed to happen to anyone by force. Action will be taken against such people if they convert the religion by deception or giving any kind of greed. The purpose of the bill is to control forced religious conversions.

Khattar claimed that 127 FIRs for religious conversion have been registered in six districts in four years. Other cases of conversion were seen in Yamunanagar, Panipat, Gurugram, Palwal and Faridabad, he added.

According to the Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion in Haryana Bill 2022, if the conversion is done by seduction, use of force, fraudulent means or coercion, a term of imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of at least 1 rupees are foreseen. lakh. In case of marriage in violation of the law, the penalty would not be less than three years, up to 10 years and a fine of at least Rs 3 lakh.

In addition, whoever converts or attempts to convert a minor, a woman or a person belonging to scheduled castes or tribes, shall be punished with imprisonment which may not be less than four years, which may go up to 10 years and is liable to imprisonment. a fine of at least Rs 3 lakh.

Senior Congress official Raghubir Kadian said, “There is no rush or urgency to introduce this bill. “I think this bill smacks of divisive politics, which is not good,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Nuh MLA Aftab Ahmed of Congress feared that the bill would grant absolute discretionary power to state agencies, which was prohibited by the Indian Constitution.

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