A Revenue official of the Jhabua District of Madhya Pradesh summoned Christian missionaries for their controversial religious activities. The official directed the Christian priests to present themselves before him and explain the nature of their religious activities and has even sought details of their appointment as priests.
The revenue official has ordered Christian priests to attest if they were converted by force, fraud or allurement. Further, the official has ordered priests to submit their appointment details provided to them by respective churches for their religious activities. The official also said that the action will be taken under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021, against those who converted these priests by force, fraud or allurement.
According to the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021, those willing to convert would need to apply to the district administration 60 days in advance. The religious leaders facilitating the conversion would also have to inform about it 60 days in advance. Violation of these provisions would attract a jail term and fine as well.
In cases of religious conversion of members of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and minors, a provision has been made for imprisonment and fine also. The law has a provision of three to 10 years of imprisonment and fine of Rs 50,000 in cases of marriage carried out by hiding religion, misrepresentation or impersonation.
In case of mass conversions (of two or more persons), a provision of five to 10 years of imprisonment and a minimum fine of Rs 1 lakh has been made. Repeat offenders would face five to 10 years of imprisonment. The registration of any organization involved in such violation will be cancelled. Religious conversion in violation of this law would be considered null and void.