In Madhya Pradesh, marriages to enable forcible religious conversions would invite an imprisonment of up to 10 years. Earlier, the proposed period of maximum punishment for the ‘offence’ was five years.
Home Minister Narottam Mishra told reporters on Wednesday, “In addition, priests solemnising such marriages will also face imprisonment of five years. The registration of organisations enabling such marriages will be cancelled.”
The revisions to the proposed law come a day after the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh passed an ordinance making religious conversion a non-bailable offence inviting penalties up to 10 years in prison if found to be effected for marriage or using force.
Further, Mr. Mishra said for religious conversions, the District Collector must be informed one month in advance, upon which there would be an investigation. “The victim, parents or guardians can complain about this. The offence shall be deemed cognisable and non-bailable”.
The BJP government plans to table the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2020, in the coming three-day Assembly session from December 28.