Sehore (Madhya Pradesh): Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said on Saturday that the state cabinet has approved the Dharma Swatantrya (Religious Freedom) Bill 2020, which bars forced conversions.
Chauhan stated, “We will not allow forced conversion of religion by luring, frightening, cheating or misleading a person in Madhya Pradesh. We have strengthened the 1968 law making it more effective and stricter.”
He said the new bill has the provision of a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of minimum Rs 50,000.
The chief minister pointed out, “Many instances surfaced where minor girls were converted, married and made to contest Panchayat polls. Very recently, we brought back minor girls from various places. We will not allow this to take place with innocent daughters of the state.”
According to the Chief Minister’s Office, any marriage conducted with the intention of religious conversion will be considered null. Anyone going through religious conversion willingly as well as the concerned religious leader will have to inform the District Magistrate one month in advance.
The bill is supposed to be tabled during the three-day session of the Legislative Assembly scheduled to begin on December 28.