The Madhya Pradesh cabinet has approved the Religious Freedom Bill 2020, which provides for prison term of up to 10 years and fine of Rs 1 lakh for conversion through marriage or by any other fraudulent means, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra said.
“We won’t allow forced conversions in Madhya Pradesh. Under new bill, anyone who does it will face jail term up to 10 yrs & minimum Rs 50,000 fine. Many incidents came to light where minor girls were converted, married & made to contest Panchayat poll’ said Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Chief Minister Madhya Pradesh in a statement to ANI.
He claimed that once enforced, this will be the most stringent law in the country against religious conversion carried out by fraudulent means, allurement or threat.
After the approval by the cabinet, the bill will now be presented in the state Assembly.
“This bill will replace the Religious Freedom Act of 1968 (after the approval by the state assembly),” he said.
Any marriage solemnised only for the purpose of converting a person will be considered null and void under the provisions of this proposed legislation, he said.
A provision is also being made that those willing to convert need to apply before the district administration two months prior, Mishra said.