Uttar Pradesh became the first Indian state to enforce an anti-love jihad law after UP Governor Anandiben Patel promulgated the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020, on Saturday.
This law prohibits the conversion from one religion to another through “misinterpretation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage.”
On November 24, the UP cabinet had cleared the Ordinance to put a check on the “unlawful religious conversions” and “inter-faith marriages with the sole intention of changing a girl’s religion.” The law also added that such a marriage will be declared as “shunya” (null and void) if the sole intention was to change a girl’s religion.
Additionally, the new law states that there will be minimum imprisonment of one to five years if convicted of carrying out any forceful conversions for marriage. In normal cases a jail term of a minimum of one to five years or Rs 15,000 in fine. If the girl is a minor or from the SC/ST community, the jail term is a minimum of three years and a maximum of 10 years with a fine of Rs 25,000. And in case of mass religious conversions a jail term of a minimum of three years to a maximum of 10 years with a fine of Rs 50,000. Moreover, the forced conversion will be a non-bailable offence.
For any conversion into another religion, one needs to pledge before a designated officer that such an act was a voluntary one and not carried out by forced means, or inappropriate measures.