Uttarakhand mulls ending Rs 50,000 monetary benefit for inter-faith marriages after ‘controversy’

Many other BJP-ruled states, including Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, are making laws to prevent alleged ‘Love Jihad’.

DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government, which is also one of the first states in the country to have passed a law against ‘Love Jihad’, is planning to end monetary benefits extended for inter-faith marriages in the state.

This move comes after the state government got into a controversy due to a press release issued by the social welfare department in November that encouraged young couples to avail monetary benefits of Rs  50,000 if in an inter-faith marriage.

State cabinet minister and spokesperson for the government Madan kaushik said, “With Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 the scheme has already become null and void. It seems the press release was issued amidst confusion which will be sorted soon.”

Last month, the press release dated November 18, in Hindi, by the social welfare officer of Tehri district stated, “To promote communal harmony and social unity, interfaith and inter-caste marriages are of great importance as it will help in bridging gaps among different communities.”

The release further said that to promote such marriages, the social welfare department gives an incentive of Rs 50,000.

Following this, Uttarakhand government faced flak for promoting ‘Love Jihad’. To this, an inquiry was ordered by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, headed by the chief secretary of the state.

The officials added that scheme has been since the time when Uttarakhand was part of Uttar Pradesh.

The actual incentive under the scheme was Rs 10,000 which was increased to Rs 50,000 in 2014 by the then Indian National Congress (INC) government through an amendment in the Uttar Pradesh Antarjatiya/Antardharmik Vivah Protsahan Niyamawali, 1976.

Many other BJP-ruled states, including Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, are making laws to prevent alleged ‘Love Jihad’.

Source: The New Indian Express

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