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Lucknow police stops interfaith wedding

Days after the Uttar Pradesh government promulgated a stringent anti-conversion law, the police here stopped an interfaith wedding, saying the couple did not complete legal formalities

Lucknow: Days after the Uttar Pradesh government promulgated a stringent anti-conversion law, the police here stopped an interfaith wedding, saying the couple did not complete legal formalities.

The families of the bride and the groom were called to Para police station and informed about the new law. They decided to defer the wedding and follow the norms laid for an interfaith marriage under the Special Marriage Act, the police said.

For an interfaith marriage, a couple may get married without changing their religion by registering themselves under the Special Marriage Act.

But if anyone wishes to convert to another religion, they will have to submit a declaration at least 60 days in advance to the respective district magistrate or additional district magistrate as per the recently promulgated Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020.

After receiving information about the wedding on Wednesday, a police team reached the venue in Para area’s Duda Colony, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP), south, Suresh Chandra Rawat said on Friday.

It was found that preparations were underway to solemnise the marriage of Raina Gupta (22), a chemistry postgraduate, and Mohammad Asif (23), a pharmacist, with the consent of their families, he said.

Both the families were called to Para police station and informed about the new law.

“The families were told that the new ordinance has provisions to check religious conversions carried out through allurement, coercion, force, fraud, or marriage. Both the families have now decided to follow the proper process for interfaith marriages,” Rawat said.

“The police then asked the families to complete the necessary formalities for the marriage and they agreed,” ADCP Rawat said.

No FIR was lodged in the matter, the police said.

“Under the provisions of the ordinance, an inquiry will be conducted about the intention or purpose of the conversion and violation of this provision will have the effect of such conversion being rendered null and void,” said senior lawyer Hemant Kumar Upadhyay.

“The converted person will have to make another declaration in the prescribed format within six months of conversion. A violation of this will invite punishment from six months up to three years with a fine of Rs 10,000,” he said.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel on November 28 gave assent to the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, against forcible or fraudulent religious conversions.

The law provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 under different categories.

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