Indian state criminalizes conversion for marriage

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Madhya Pradesh state in central India has replaced its more than 50-year-old anti-conversion law with a new and more stringent one that can criminalize even conversion for marriage.

The law notified on Jan. 9 says any attempt to convert a person from one religion to another through misrepresentation, allurement, use of threat or force, undue influence, coercion or by marriage is a punishable offense.

Violators can be jailed for up to 10 years under the new law called the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020. Those abetting or conspiring such conversions can also be punished.