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Government to implement Freedom of Religion act from June 15

The government has determined to execute the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which proposes severe punishment for compelled religious conversion by marriage, from June 15, an official said on Friday. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has determined to execute the Bill, which will become an Act from June 15, an official of the Chief Minister’s Office said.

The Bill was enacted by the state legislative Assembly on April 1 by majority vote, and it was supported by Gujarat governor Acharya Devvrat in May. According to the state, the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill seeks to control the “emerging trend in which women are lured to marriage for religious conversion”.The bill revised a 2003 law, which penalizes religious conversion through pressure or allurement.

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As per the bill, forcible “conversion by marriage, or by getting a person married, or by supporting a person to get married” shall receive imprisonment of three to five years and up to Rs 2 lakh fine. If the victim is a minor, a woman, a Dalit, or a tribal, then the offenders may be imprisoned for a jail period of four to seven years and penalized no less than Rs 3 lakh.


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