Dehradun, 09 October
The Uttarakhand government is considering making the state’s anti-conversion law more stringent, which carries a jail term of up to ten years, and has sought a proposal from the state police chief to this effect.
The Pushkar Singh Dhami government has sought the proposal citing “deterioration of communal harmony” amid “demographic changes” in some areas of the state.
Uttarakhand Director General of Police Ashok Kumar said on Saturday that Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has recently asked the police department to submit a proposal to enact a more stringent anti-conversion law.
Accordingly, the police department has sent a two-page proposal to the government to amend the state’s anti-conversion law for Uttar Pradesh.
He said the police have recommended making acts of “forced conversion” a cognizable offense punishable with a minimum jail term of three years with a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of Rs 25,000.
He said the existing state law on the issue makes forced conversion a non-cognizable offense which requires the complaint to be filed in the court and sought a direction to the police to register an FIR.
But the state’s new resolution seeks to make forced conversion a cognizable offence, authorizing the police to register FIRs on their own without waiting for a court’s direction.
Abhinav Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary to Chief Minister Dhami, said that at present the proposal of the police is being investigated.
The government’s decision to tighten the anti-conversion law comes after an attack on a church in Roorkee in Haridwar district by miscreants for allegedly promoting mass conversions.
Last month, the state government had asked the police to take action against the frequent migration of people of a particular community to a particular area of the state amid the growing population of another community.
In this context, the state government had asked the police to identify the affected districts and take action against the anti-social elements living there.
The police have also been asked to prepare a list of anti-social elements with criminal background, who have migrated from outside and settled in those affected districts of the state.
Police have been asked to investigate the ancestral places of such people and prepare their records.
The district magistrates of these areas have also been asked to keep a check on illegal sale of land in their areas and ensure that no land transaction is under duress. – PTI