Haryana Anti-conversion Bill

The bill is being brought in the state of Haryana to prevent unlawful religious conversions. Haryana is a BJP ruled state. The other BJP ruled states that brought in the bill were UP, HP, MP and Karnataka.

Need for the bill

Several “Love Jihad” incidents were reported in the state. Love Jihad is a term used in the country to address Muslim men forcing Hindu girls to convert to Islam. These men do this by marrying them. According to several Hindutva leaders, it is a strategy used by the Muslim world to eradicate Hinduism. There are pseudo social organisations that use this strategy to convert vulnerable sections of the society. This phrase is not found in central government laws or state government laws. However, it is common used in politics.

What does the bill say?

It aims to prohibit religious conversions through undue influence, misrepresentation, allurement, coercion or other fraudulent means. The bill includes greater punishments for conversions in women, scheduled caste and scheduled tribe.

If any of the marriages were performed by concealing the religion, the marriage shall be declared void or null under the bill. The designated authority will make enquiries.

Justification

The Right to freedom of religion cannot be extended to interpret collective right to convert. Because it belongs to the person converting. Still there are mass conversions happening in the country. The people converting are mostly the vulnerable sections. Such people are offered allurement for conversion. In some place, the men marry the girls concealing their identity. They reveal that they follow Islam after getting married. Also, they force their wives to get converted.

How will it be established?

The individuals converting from one religion to other should submit a declaration that the conversion is not being done under unlawful means. The term unlawful means by use of force, fraudulent means, coercion, undue influence or under threat.

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