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Love jihad is real – Uttar Pradesh ordinance on prohibition of unlawful conversion

‘I hold that proselytization under the cloak of humanitarian work is unhealthy to say the least’ 

                                                                                                                                  …Mahatma Gandhi

The inter-religion marriages have always been on a slippery slope because the very nature of such marriage challenges the prevailing customs between the spouses however, the recent trend has witnessed an alarming threat by Muslim fundamentalists who have conceived the idea of Love Jihad or Romeo Jihad by luring Hindu and other non-Muslim women under the false pretext of love marriage whereas the central idea is of religious conversion and promotion of Islam thereafter having an unthinkable impact on the victim.

The term Love Jihad was first coined and gained recognition in the case of Shahan Sha A vs State of Kerala[i]. The Kerala High Court directed Kerala police to investigate the inter-religious marriages of Muslims with Non-Muslims women. Kerala High Court took cognizance of the reports filed by the Director General of Police in sealed cover stating how Muslim Organisation like Shahen Force, Thasreen Millat, Popular Front of India (PFI), National Democratic Front (NDF) are at the forefront of the Love Jihad movement. The report further exposes the financial nexus of the National Democratic Front (NDF), Popular Front of India (PFI) for the purpose of Love Jihad.

Christian C Sahner an associate professor of Islamic history and Fellow of St Cross College at the University of Oxford writes about the rise in religious conversion through marriage in the west in an article ‘Islam through the Christian world via the bedroom’[ii]. Phillip Fargues in a paper titled ‘Demographic Islamization: Non-Muslims in Muslim Countries’[iii] explains Islamization in the demographic meaning of the word i.e., conversion to Islam and replacement of non-Muslims by Muslims through migration, and intermarriage, which automatically gives birth to second generation of Muslims. Hassam Munir in his article “How Islam Spread Throughout the World[iv] writes how inter religious marriages was one of the methods to spread Islam in British-ruled India where several Dalit were converted to Islam as part of intermarriage with Muslims mostly in the province of Uttar Pradesh (UP)

Key Provisions of Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020[v]

The Preamble highlights the purpose of providing prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage and for the matters connected therewith

SECTION 3 – Prohibition of conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage

No person shall convert or attempt to convert any other person from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage. If any person reconverts to his/her immediate previous religion, the same would not come under the ambit of this Ordinance.

SECTION 4 – Persons competent to lodge First Information Report

Any Aggrieved, his/her sister/brother, parents or any other person who is related to him/her by blood, marriage or adoption can file a First Information Report and report of such conversion which contravenes the provisions of Section 3.

SECTION 6Marriage done for the sole purpose of Unlawful Conversion or vice-versa to be declared void

If marriage is conducted for the sole purpose of unlawful conversion or vice-versa by the man of one religion with the woman of another religion, either by converting himself/herself before or after marriage or converting the woman either before or after the marriage shall be declared void.

Section 7- Non-bailable and Cognizable

All the offences under this Ordinance shall be cognizable and non-bailable and triable by the Sessions Court.

SECTION 8 Declaration before Conversion of religion and pre-report about conversion

Person who desires to convert to some other religion needs to provide a declaration in the form prescribed in Schedule-I at least sixty days in advance either to the District Magistrate or Additional District Magistrate and states that the same is being done with his/her free consent and without any force, coercion, undue influence, or allurement.

SECTION 9 Declaration post-conversion of religion

The converted person shall send a declaration in the form prescribed in Schedule-III within 60 days of the date of conversion, to the District Magistrate in which the converted person resides ordinarily.

Punishments

Section 5 – Punishment for contravention of Section 3 will not be less than One Year but may extend to Five Years and shall also be liable of fine of not less than fifteen thousand rupees.

SECTION 10 Punishment for violation of provisions of Ordinance by an institution or organization: If any institution or organization violates the provisions of the ordinance, they shall be subjected to punishment as provided under Section 5 and the registration of the said institution or organization shall stand cancelled.

Burden of Proof

SECTION 12 – Burden of Proof

The burden of proof of whether a religious conversion was not effected through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage would lie on the person who caused the conversion and where such conversion was facilitated by any person on such other person.

Love Jihad traces its’s origin since the advent of Mughal rule and is now a global threat. India has seen the menace of religious conversion being spread at an alarming rate under the lure of love marriage. The Uttar Pradesh Government under the visionary leadership of Chief Minister Shri Yogi Adityanath has made a bold decision to curb the menace of religion conversion by promulgating the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020 which by in itself doesn’t bar Inter Religious marriages and is certainly within the sphere of constitution. The lobby of pseudo secular is tirelessly propagating a false narrative of the ordinance being unconstitutional; however, the law as it stands today only acts as a regulation to prevent conversion from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means.

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[i] Shahan Sha A vs State of Kerala Bail Application No. 5288 of 2009

[ii] “CONCLUSION: Making of the Muslim World.” Christian Martyrs under Islam: Religious Violence and the Making of the Muslim World, by Christian C. Sahner, Princeton University Press, Princeton; Oxford, 2018, pp. 241–252. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv39x5zm.14. Accessed 12 Dec. 2020.

[iii] Fargues, Philippe. (2001). Demographic Islamization: Non-Muslims in Muslim Countries. SAIS Review. 21. 103-116. 10.1353/sais.2001.0037.

[iv] https://yaqeeninstitute.org/hassam-munir/how-islam-spread-throughout-the-world

 

[v] https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2020/12/01/prohibition-of-unlawful-religious-conversion-uttar-pradesh-prohibition-of-unlawful-conversion-of-religion-ordinance-2020-brief-explainer/

 

About the Author

Siddhant Mishra obtained B.A LL. B (Hons) from School of Law, KIIT Deemed to be University Bhubaneswar in 2016 and has been practicing and handling cases independently before the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, Lucknow Bench. Siddhant is an avid reader and writer and writes regularly on issues relating to law and policy.

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