- Dushyant Chautala said that his Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, will support the move to enact a law for stopping forced religious conversion
UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 08:55 AM IST
Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala said on Thursday that he did not agree with the term “love jihad” used by state home minister Anil Vij with reference to the proposed Freedom of Religion Bill being tabled in the state assembly, where the budget session is scheduled to begin on Friday.
Vij has frequently called the proposed legislation as a law against “love jihad”, a term used by right-wing groups alleging a conspiracy by Muslim men to convert Hindu women to Islam by way of marriage.
Speaking to NDTV, the deputy chief minister said that his Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, will support the move to enact a law for stopping forced religious conversion. “But if someone is willing to convert on his own, there should not be a bar,’’ he said.
Chautala’s disagreement on Vij’s “love jihad” label for the Freedom of Religion Bill came against a backdrop of growing discord between him and the home minister, particularly in the wake of various inquiries initiated in excise-related matters allegedly at Vij’s behest. The excise and taxation portfolio is held by the deputy chief minister.
Vij last week said the state government was planning to introduce a bill to curb “love jihad” in the coming assembly session. The proposed legislation is called the Haryana Freedom of Religion Bill.
The home minister on November 6 last year told the state assembly that the government was deliberating on enacting a law to check forced religious conversion. Vij had said the state government was also compiling information about instances where forced religious conversion took place to give effect to interfaith weddings.
Chief minister ML Khattar had also said the state government had decided that a freedom of religion bill would be passed to stop forced conversion. Khattar had told HT that there were complaints regarding forced conversions and marriages from many districts in the state. “People are free to adopt any religion in an informed manner but using coercion, allurement to force religious conversion, is a matter of concern. Such incidents vitiate the atmosphere of society. We are studying similar laws enacted by other states and will accordingly take a call,” Khattar had said.
Similar laws have been enacted by BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to penalise religious conversions by use of threat of force, coercion, marriage or by any other fraudulent means.
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