Amid the ongoing debate on ‘Love Jihad’ across the country, a Muslim man converted his religion, changed his name and married a Hindu girl in Haryana’s Yamunanagar on November 9. The couple has been provided with police protection after the Punjab and Haryana High Court got involved.

The 21-year-old man married the 19-year-old woman and feared threat to their life and liberty from the girl’s family and thus sought help from the Court. They further submitted that opposing their marriage would be a violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. 

The police later gave shelter to the two in a protection home for several days in accordance to the Court’s directives while trying to convince the girl’s family to allow them to stay together since they are legally married. According to Superintendent of Police, Kamaldeep Goyal, She had refused to meet her family on November 11, during the hearing of the case.

Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij had announced last week that the government has set up a three-member committee to formulate laws on ‘love jihad’, a term used by BJP to refer to religious conversions that take place under the guise of marriage.

Many states have announced that they will bring a law to curb religious conversion for marriage or through force. Last month, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel promulgated the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020, proposing a maximum punishment of 10 years and fine for “love jihad” related offences.

Besides Uttar Pradesh, the Madhya Pradesh government has proposed a maximum punishment of 10 years for so-called ‘Love Jihad’-related offences, in its new ordinance. With this, the state government has doubled the jail term in its proposed Freedom of Religion Bill 2020. It had earlier proposed a five-year jail term.

The Union Home Ministry on February 4 this year clarified that the term ‘love jihad’ is not defined under the existing laws and no such case has been reported so far. No such case was reported by any of the central agencies yet.

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