Patna: The Jharkhand government headed by CM Raghubar Das in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday cleared the draft of a bill that will ban religious conversion through force or allurement.
Violating the provisions of the Jharkhand Religious Independence Bill 2017 will lead to 3 years of imprisonment or fine up to Rs 1, 00,000 or both.
The bill will be introduced during the Assembly’s monsoon session.
The act as and when becomes a law may increase confrontation between the ruling party and its allied organizations on one hand and the church on the other. Both sides have been at loggerheads since the proposed amendments in the act were introduced through a Bill in 2016. The Jharkhand government had to reconsider it after the state Governor returned it without giving his assent.
The Church had appealed to the Governor against proposed amendments. As per the draft law, people who convert willingly are required to inform the district administration with details like time, place and reason for converting to other religion, among others. In case anybody fails to so, the person will be liable to face action.
Other states, where such a law has already been imposed are Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It is good that the Bill envisages tougher punishment for those involved, said by Pratul Shahdev, BJP state spokesperson.