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Uttar Pradesh

UP govt planning law to ‘regulate’ interfaith marriages, says Yogi

November 01, 2020 06:03 AM

COURTESY HTNOV 1

UP govt planning law to ‘regulate’ interfaith marriages, says Yogi

Yogi Adityanath
HT Correspondent

letters@hindustantimes.com

Lucknow : Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said on Saturday that his government is planning to introduce a law to regulate interfaith marriages involving Muslim men and Hindu women, citing a high court order to promise that his administration would secure and protect women in the state.

Adityanath also pledged that public land encroached upon by criminals and mafia would be used to build houses for the poor in the state. He made the announcements while campaigning for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates in for the upcoming assembly bypolls.

In his speech, Adityanath cited an Allahabad high court order, passed on October 30, where a single-judge bench held that religious conversion solely for the purpose of marriage is not valid under law. The case pertained to a Muslim woman who converted to marry a Hindu man, and the couple approached the court for police protection.

“The Allahabad high court has said that for marriages, changing religion isn’t necessary. The government too has decided to check ‘love jihad’ with all its might. An effective law would be made that would ensure that those who cheat gullible women by hiding their identity would be effectively dealt with,” the CM said.

Love Jihad is a term used by right-wing workers to describe interfaith relationships between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman. In February this year, the government told Parliament that there was no definition of the term and no such cases were reported by agencies. To be sure, the high court order didn’t use the term in its order.

“I want to warn all such people that if they don’t mend their ways, they would have to set out on a ‘Ram naam satya hai’ journey,” he said.

‘Ram naam satya hai’ (Ram is the eternal truth) is the chant Hindus raise while lending shoulder to the bier during last rites.

“We have started Mission Shakti campaign that is aimed at ensuring safety of women at all costs. We will follow the court orders and ensure women are respected,” Adityanath added.

“Many of our sisters and daughters became victims of `love jihad’. They were deceived by people using forged names and identity,’’ he pointed out.

Interfaith relationships have become a hot-button issue in several states, including Uttar Pradesh, where Hindu activists allege that Muslim men “lure” gullible women for conversion. Many experts reject these allegations and say that adult men and women are free to convert for relationships.

“Is this the first time he (CM Yogi Adityanath) used this kind of language? It’s been over three years now. Earlier he had said Thok Do (do encounter killing), and now this. Samajwadi Party is against crime but firmly believes that it is the job of the judiciary to give punishments. We are against anything illegal. He has been making this kind of language and making tall claims and lies. But all kinds of crimes have skyrocketed in his regime. Innocent are getting killed, killers are getting protection,” said Samajwadi Party state spokesperson and former minister, Rajendra Chaudhary.

On October 30, the Allahabad high court dismissed a petition filed by the interfaith couple seeking police protection. Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi passed the order on a petition seeking directions to the police and the woman’s father not to interfere in the couple’s marriage.

Justice Tripathi observed, “The court has perused the record in question and found that the petitioner has converted from her religion on 29.6.2020 and just after one month they have solemnized their marriage, which clearly reveals to this court that the said conversion has taken place only for the purpose of marriage.”

The court referred to a 2014 judgment of the Allahabad high court that ruled that conversion just for the purpose of marriage was unacceptable. The court also referred to a Supreme Court case that said conversion to Islam can be valid only when done of a person’s “free will” and “belief in the oneness of God” and not for “creating a ground for some claim of right”.

In his speech, the UP CM said his government was demolishing illegal properties of mafia elements in the state. “We will use the lands freed from mafia to build houses for the poor,’’ he said

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