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Amit Lalwani | HENB | Gandhinagar | April 3, 2021:: Bringing more stringent punishment against forced religious conversions through marriage, Gujarat Vidhan Sabha passed the ‘Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2021’ with a majority.
“Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has been passed with a majority in Gujarat Vidhan Sabha,” state Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja said on Thursday. With the passing of the bill, Gujarat became the third state after Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh make a law against ‘love jihad’.
Earlier in February, the BJP-led the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Bill, 2021 was passed by the state Legislative Assembly by voice vote.
Following it, another BJP-led government Madhya Pradesh assembly also passed the Freedom of Religion Bill 2021 in March this year.
The Ministry of Home Aairs (MHA) on February 4 this year claried that the term ‘love jihad’ is not dened under the existing laws and no such case has been reported so far. No such case was reported by any of the central agencies yet.
On Thursday, while addressing a public meeting in poll bold Kerala, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath alleged that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and United Democratic Front (UDF) are supporting communal forces in Kerala and have failed to bring development to the state. He also attacked both fronts for not addressing the issue of “love jihad” in the state.
While addressing a public rally in Alappuzha’s Haripad, Adityanath said, “We made an anti-‘love jihad’ law in Uttar Pradesh then why not in Kerala? In 2009, the Kerala High Court had called for a law to address the love jihad, why has no law been made by both parties.
After the Vijay Rupanid-led government passed the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the Assembly prohibiting “forcible conversion by marriage”, the Minority’s Coordinate Committee (MCC) wrote to the Governor demanding cancellation of the Bill, calling it unconstitutional and a tool that can be misused against minorities.
Earlier, in the process of passing the bill, the opposition party Congress in Gujarat assembly tried to hamper the business. Congress MLA Imran Khedawala tore up a copy of anti forced religious conversion bill in Assembly which earned a sharp criticism of the ruling party BJP in this row.
Inputs from ANI.