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MP Police Reports First Case of ‘Love-Jihad’ Under New Freedom of Religion Law

The BJP-led government in the state had passed the Freedom of Religion Act 2020 through an ordinance on December 29 to prevent religious conversion by force or allurement.
MP Police Reports First Case of ‘Love-Jihad’ Under New Freedom of Religion Law

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Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh has reportedly filed the first case under the recently enacted Freedom of Religion Law 2020, also termed as ‘Love-Jihad’ law, on Sunday, January 17 in Barwani district. A 22-year-old woman has registered a complaint against a 25-year-old driver of cheating by allegedly hiding his name.

The state had passed the Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020 on December 29 after the cabinet’s nod following approval of the Governor on January 9, 2021.

In a complaint to Kotwali Police Station of Barwani district, the complainant, a resident of Meni Mata village of Palsud block, claimed that they met during a marriage function in 2016 and had been involved in a relationship since then.

She alleged that the accused, who is also a resident of Palsud, hid his identity as Sunny and sexually exploited her. When she came to know that he is the father of a son and a Muslim, she tried to move away from him. But, the accused allegedly began harassing and blackmailing her.

“A couple of months back, she moved to Barwani with her mother, but on Sunday, Sunny came to meet her in Barwani and allegedly assaulted her. Upon which she reported the matter to the police,” Rajesh Yadav, town inspector of Kotwali police station, told media.

The police has booked the accused under sections 376, 294, 323, 506 of the IPC and sections 3, 5 of recently passed anti-conversion law. They have also transferred the case to Palsud Police Station for further investigation.

When contacted, Palsud Police Station in charge, Ranjana Thakur claimed that the accused has been arrested the following day and has been sent to police custody.

This is the first reported incident in the state after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government passed the new law to prevent religious conversion by force or allurement. Earlier, another BJP ruled state, Uttar Pradesh, had passed a similar law.

Under the new law, forcing religious conversion on someone will attract 1-5 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 25,000.

Also read: Love Jihad – Legislation of the Post Truth

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