MP: BJP seeks tougher anti-conversion law

July 10, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Madhya Pradesh BJPMadhya Pradesh, July 09, 2013: The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh is preparing to introduce amendments to the 1968 Dharma Swatantrata Adhiniyam (Anti-Conversion law). According to reports in Danik Bhaskar on July 5, 2013, the new amendment presses for four years imprisonment and one lakh fine for those involved in conversion.  The proposed the amendment to section 5 of the Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act of 1968 that seeks to include priests, increasing fears among Christians that the move will open the door to false accusations of conversion by Hindu extremists.

It also makes prior permission a must. Permissions must be obtained at least a month in advance from the district magistrate. Persons who desire to convert as well as the priest who is preside over the religious ceremony will have to apply for this permission. There is also a provision for a police inquiry on the request.

The cabinet has approved this amendment and will introduce it in the monsoon session. Once the bill is passed in the assembly it will become a law immediately as it does not now require the approval of the President. In the original Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act of 1968, the priest is not a party to such a conversion. The law required the person who wanted to switch religion to inform the district magistrate of the decision.

India’s Freedom of Religion Acts, referred to as anti-conversion laws, now have been implemented in six of India’s 28 states and seven union territories. The laws appear to seek to curb religious conversions made by “force,” “fraud” or “allurement.”

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