In a welcome development, stone-pelting will no longer be treated as an ordinary crime in Madhya Pradesh as the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government is planning to bring a stringent law where the assets of the accused will be attached to pay for damages caused to a property or an individual.
Taking a leaf out of the UP and Karnataka governments, the Madhya Pradesh government is set to bring a new law to curb the menace of the stone pelters by attaching and subsequently auctioning the assets of the accused to pay for any damages caused to public property or an individual.
MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan while addressing media persons in Bhopal quipped, “stone pelters are enemies of the society”. He added that stone pelting is no ordinary crime as it not only disrupts law and order but can also lead to deaths and spread terror. He asserted that the “rule of law will prevail in Madhya Pradesh”.
Chouhan was in a defiant mood as he said that the offenders won’t be spared and they aren’t petty criminals. “Till now, it (stone-pelting) was considered a minor offence but we are bringing a law which will make the offenders pay,” said Chouhan.
Highlighting how invariably public property ends up getting damaged, he said, “While people have a right to raise their issues peacefully in a democracy, no one has the liberty to damage public property.”
Under the new laws, not only will the perpetrators be severely punished, but will also be made to pay for the damages. In the eventuality where private properties are knowingly damaged, the guilty party will have to pay for the losses incurred by the owners.
“I have given instructions to formulate these laws and work on it has already started,” said Chouhan.
Earlier in December, the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government had enacted an ordinance criminalising forced religious conversions and love jihad. According to various reports, some new provisions added in the law will bring institutions like madrasas, churches, and schools under the ambit of the anti-love jihad law. If any of the said institutions are found indulging in or aiding love jihad or forced religious conversions, the state government will be empowered to withdraw all aid provided to them. The proposed law will also allow the government to withdraw any land allotted to such institutions.
Already, the to-be tabled Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act bill provides a punishment of up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine up to 1 lakh in case of conversions through marriage or by any other fraudulent means. If religious institutions or minority-run schools are caught indulging in such crimes, they very well stare at the prospect of seeing all that they have got taken away by the state.
The Chouhan government of late has been in an aggressive mode against all the anti-social elements which must be appreciated.