UP Cabinet approves ordinance against conversions for marriage

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Lucknow, Nov 24 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday approved the draft of a stringent law to deal with religious conversion for the sake of marriage, which BJP leaders refer to as 'love jihad'.

The Anti-Religious Conversion Bill, 2020, is now likely to be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the UP assembly.

An official spokesperson said the approval for the ordinance was given at a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath here.

Adityanath had earlier asked officials to formulate a strategy and bring in the ordinance to prevent religious conversions in the name of love. The state Bharatiya Janata Party government had declared it would bring a tough law to tackle what right-wing outfits call 'love jihad'.

Some saffron groups and BJP leaders have used the term 'love jihad' to target interfaith marriages, accusing Muslim men of engaging in a mass conspiracy to turn Hindu women away from their religion by seducing them. The party has termed it a "serious problem" and backed the decision of its state governments to enact laws against it. BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have expressed their intention to bring a law against 'love jihad'.

Opposition parties have dismissed this as an attempt by the BJP to divide the society and said any such law will be violative of the Constitution.

The legislation on 'love jihad' that was under consideration of the UP law department, prepared by the state law commission, was initially sent to the government last year. An amended copy of it was recently sent again to the state's home department. (With inputs from News18)