- Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat has given his assent to an amendment bill, which provides for a prison sentence of up to ten years for fraudulent or forcible conversion by marriage.
- The Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which was passed by the state Legislative Assembly on April 1 this year, has been approved by the governor along with seven other Bills, state Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said in a statement.
- With this, the governor has approved all the 15 bills that were passed during the budget session of the Assembly as he had earlier cleared seven other bills, he added.
- As per the amended Freedom of Religion Bill, a forcible ‘conversion by marriage, or by getting a person married, or by aiding a person to get married’ shall invite imprisonment of three to five years and a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh.
- If the victim is a minor, woman, Dalit or tribal, the offender may be punished with a jail term of four to seven years and a fine of not less than Rs 3 lakh.
- If an organisation violates the law, the person in charge can be sentenced to minimum of three years and maximum of ten years in jail.
Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021
This bill is being also called as “anti-love jihad” Bill. It provides for punishment of 3-10 years in jail for forcible and fraudulent religious conversions by marrying the person. It amends the 2003 Act.
Why this bill was passed?
This bill was passed considering the fact that, there are increasing instances of religious conversions promising a better lifestyles, divine blessings and impersonation.There is an increasing trend where women are lured to marriage for religious conversions.
What is Love Jihad?
Love Jihad is also known as Romeo Jihad. It is a conspiracy theory which was developed by proponents of Hindutva. The theory is used to invoke prejudice against Muslims.The theory maintains that, Muslim men target Hindu women for conversion to Islam by means of feigning love and marriage.
Other State with such legislation
Earlier, Uttar Pradesh has enacted the “Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020” which is unofficially called as ‘love jihad law’.This law makes conversion a non-bailable offence with up to 10 years of jail time if it is undertaken unlawfully or forcefully.