SHIMLA: An Anti-Conversion Law has come into force in Himachal Pradesh with Governor V S Kokje giving his assent to it.
It has become the first Congress-ruled state to adopt legislation banning illegal religious conversions. The Governor signed the legislation passed by the state assembly in its winter session in December, Raj Bhawan sources said today.
During the session at Dharamsala, the BJP had obtained a commitment from Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for a law to stop conversions in the state.
Similar legislation exists in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, all ruled by the BJP. The legislation proposes a two-year prison term and a fine of Rs 25,000 or both for persons found guilty of abetting and indulging in conversion from one religion to another. In case of conversion of women and persons belonging to Dalit and tribal communities, the punishment will be three years of rigourous inmprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000. Under the legislation, anybody willing to convert from one religion to another will have to give a month's notice to the District Magistrate, who after an inquiry, can grant permission to do so.
The population of Christians in Himachal Pradesh is not more than 10,000, but the BJP and Hindu organisations have from time to time complained about conversions by missionary groups.
Source: ZeeNews.com Bureau Report
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