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“Love Jihad”; Couple must declare ‘religion & income’, BJP-ruled states bringing in new laws to “empower our sisters”

Guwahati: Assam is scheming a law that will need the couple to claim their religion and income in authorized documents a month before the marriage. Against the background of many other BJP-ruled states carrying in-laws to inspect “love jihad”, the Assam government says it strives to “empower our sisters”.

The ruling BJP’s action arrives beforehand of ballots in Assam next year, which the party is sure of succeeding. State Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that his government’s law was not totally like the ones in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, but would be equivalent.”Assam’s law is not against ‘love jihad’. It would be inclusive of all beliefs and would empower our sisters by bringing transparency…One will have to disclose not only religion but earning source. Complete family details, education, etc. Many times even in same religion marriage we have found that the girl later finds that the husband is in an illegal business,” said Mr. Sarma.

“Our law will empower women. It will have some components of the ordinance in UP and MP. The suggested law will need the man and the woman to disclose their source of income, profession, permanent address, and religion in a government-prescribed form a month before the wedding, failing which legal action would be taken,” the minister said.

“Love jihad” is a pejorative used by right-wing groups to target relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women, which, they say, is part of a larger design to forcibly convert the women.

It is a phrase not officially acknowledged by the central government. The Home Ministry had told parliament in February that: “Love Jihad is not defined in law” and no such lawsuit had been documented by central agencies. But several BJP-ruled states, including Haryana, Karnataka, and even Bihar, have been speaking of raising a law to review “love jihad”. UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath cited an Allahabad High Court order to issue a thinly-veiled threat to “those who… play with our sisters’ respect”.

Regardless, weeks after the same court said “two adults are free to choose their partner”, and that the earlier judgment which said “conversion for marriage is unacceptable”, was “not a good law”.Last week, Uttar Pradesh became the first state to pass a law to check forced religious transformations with a jail of up to 10 years. Days later, the Madhya Pradesh government also formulated a bill to penalize”love jihad”.

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