The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh introduced an anti-conversion bill in the state assembly that replaced an ordinance brought to check religious conversions through marriage or by any other fraudulent means.
Cleared by the cabinet in December and promulgated in January, the bill replaced the ordinance which had provisions of 10 years imprisonment in some cases and a hefty fine for violators.
Home Minister Narottam Mishra presented the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, in the House.
This is the first stage (to enact new law). Now the bill would be taken up for consideration.
"The House has allowed it to be introduced. Now it is a House property. Members can suggest amendments, they can study it for further action, said a senior official of the Assembly secretariat.
Governor Anandiben Patel on January 9 gave assent to the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2020, which penalised religious conversions through fraudulent means, including those for the sake of marriage.
The ordinance penalised religious conversions by misrepresentation, allurement, use of threat of force, undue influence, coercion, marriage or by any other fraudulent means.
Last month, Home Minister Mishra had said as many a 23 cases were registered under the ordinance within a month of it coming into force.
He had said the highest number of seven cases were reported in the Bhopal division followed by five in Indore, four each in Jabalpur and Rewa, and three in the Gwalior division.
With PTI Inputs