Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and Congress stalwart Digvijaya Singh has come down heavily on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government for “spreading hatred” under the garb of making laws against ‘love jihad’, a term used by the BJP-RSS for forceful religious conversion of women.
“They have no business, but to make people fight and spread hatred,” Singh said on Thursday, asking the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh to define the legal interpretation of ‘love jihad’ in the first place.
The Congress Legal Cell has, meanwhile, lashed out at the CM Chouhan’s government on their decision to push legislations against "love jihad", saying it can’t formulate a new law unless the existing one is phased out.
“The state government is just talking about a ‘love jihad’ bill to fuel debate between majority and minority communities and as MP Dharm Swatantrya Adhiniyam 1968 is in existence, they can only amend it in the present scenario,” Congress legal cell chairman JP Dhanopia said.
A war of words between the saffron party and the opposition has broken out in the country since some of the BJP-ruled states strongly decided to bring in laws against ‘love jihad’, despite no concrete data on a national or regional basis against the alleged phenomenon.
Recently, Chief Minister Chouhan said that he “won’t allow things like ‘love jihad’ in MP” and asserted that a stern law on the same will be formulated soon. Home minister Narottam Mishra on Wednesday formulated the draft bill in a meeting with officials from Law and Home ministries in Bhopal.
Under the Bill, the jail term for forced conversion under ‘love jihad’ has been increased from five to ten years and has provision of imprisonment for those solemnising and aiding such “fraudulent” marriages.
On Thursday, Co-operative minister Arvind Bhadauria went a step ahead on the proposed legislation, demanding that those accused of ‘love jihad’ should be punished with attachment of properties.
“Those guilty of love jihad should be made to pay subsistence allowance to the victim and if they fail to do so, their properties should be attached,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Congress minister PC Sharma has expressed apprehensions that such a legislation could be used to target Muslims.
Meanwhile, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has already approved a law to deter ‘love jihad’ cases. Barring MP and UP, BJP-ruled Haryana, too, said that it will bring a legislation on it.