The Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday said matters related to religious conversions are primarily the concerns of state governments and that the Centre was not planning to enact any anti-conversion law. The ministry also said that law enforcement agencies take action whenever such instances of violations come to the fore.
In a written reply to a question, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Freddy said that public order and police are state subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution. “Hence, prevention, detection, registration, investigation and prosecution of offences related to religious conversions are primarily the concern of state governments and Union Territory administrations,” he said.
The minister also replied in negative to a question if there was enough evidence to show that interfaith marriages are related to forced religious conversions.
Right-wing Hindutva activists allege that Hindu women are forcibly converted by Muslims through marriage. They call the conspiracy theory “love jihad”. Many Bharatiya Janata Party ruled states have already implemented or are contemplating enact laws aimed at preventing inter-faith marriages.
Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, both governed by the BJP, have recently passed such laws. Some more BJP-ruled states have also decided to introduce anti-conversion laws. The Haryana government has formed a three-member drafting committee to frame a law on the matter. Karnataka and Assam governments have made similar announcements.
These actions are despite the fact that in February 2019, the Centre told the Lok Sabha that no “case of ‘love jihad’ has been reported by any of the central agencies”.