​Amid 'love jihad' row, Assam to bring law to make couples declare religion, income

State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed the law would be for all religions and that it would 'empower women' by bringing transparency,as per reports

FP Staff November 30, 2020 23:56:46 IST
​Amid 'love jihad' row, Assam to bring law to make couples declare religion, income

File image of BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. PTI

Amid announcements by several BJP ruled states to formulate laws against “love jihad”, the Assam government is planning to bring in a new marriage law under which the bride and groom will have to disclose details such as their religion, source of income a month before the wedding, according to several media reports.

As per NDTV, state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed the law would be for all religions and that it would "empower women" by bringing transparency.

"Assam's law is not against 'love jihad'. It would be inclusive of all religions 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 a time, even in same religion marriage, we have found that the girl later finds that the husband is in an illegal business," the report quoted Sarma as saying.

According to India Today, Sarma further stated that the state government has already started drafting the legislation and it will be for all couples intending to get married and not only for love marriages.

“We do not want to use the term “love jihad”. Not only for love affairs, it will be mandatory for even normal marriage also, and both husband and wife will have to disclose it. There will be a disclosure pro forma which will be given to the wife by the husband and the wife will give it to the husband. It will not talk [only] about religion, it will talk about everything which a wife needs to know," he added.

The minister's comments come on the backdrop of several BJP-ruled states saying they will bring legislations against 'love jihad' — a term used by right-wing groups who allege that Hindu women are being converted to Islam under the guise of marriage.

While Uttar Pradesh has cleared an ordinance against unlawful conversions and also registered the first case under it, Madhya Pradesh government is planning to introduce a bill in the next state Assembly session.

Other BJP-run states such as Karnataka, Haryana are also mulling plans to bring in such a law.

However, as per the reports cited above, Sarma said that the legislation being drafted by the Assam government will not be entirely similar to the ones in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh but will contain some elements from there.

Recently, the Allahabad High Court in a judgment said that a person’s right to live with people of their choice, irrespective of religion, is intrinsic to their right to life and personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.

It also overturned two earlier judgments which said that conversion for the purpose of marriage is not acceptable, stating that they were not “good in law”.

Also, a special investigation team formed to probe into incidents of 'love jihad' in Kanpur did not find any evidence of a conspiracy or foreign funding, police said last week.

The ruling BJP’s move comes ahead of the Assembly elections in the state next year.

With inputs from PTI

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