A bill on love jihad will be introduced in the Madhya Pradesh assembly soon, advocating five years of rigorous imprisonment for the violators and making it a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

“There will be provision to declare marriages taking place forcefully, out of fraud or by tempting someone, for religious conversion, null and void. Those assisting in committing this crime will also be considered a party to the crime,” Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said on Tuesday.

After the Bill gets passed in the assembly, people planning an inter-faith marriage will have to notify the district collector a month in advance.

What is love jihad?

Love jihad is a term coined by right-wing groups that oppose the inter-faith marriage, especially between a Hindu and a Muslim family. However, Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees a citizen the freedom of choice for marriage.

“The term love jihad is not defined under the extant laws. No such case of love jihad has been reported by any of the central agencies,” Union Minister of State for Home, G Kishan Reddy, had said during a Parliament session earlier this year.

Supporting groups

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had hinted at introducing a new legislation against love jihad. “Jihad will not be permitted in the name of love at any cost in the state. Necessary legal provisions will be made against love jihad,” he had said.

Other states in queue

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contemplating legal provisions against the same in its ruling states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.