Jharkhand assembly to take up land and anti-conversion bills

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Ranchi, Aug 8 (IANS) The Jharkhand assembly began its monsoon session here on Tuesday and is scheduled to take up two important legislations — anti-conversion law and amendment to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

The state cabinet last week gave its approval to the Jharkhand Land Amendment Act, 2017, which is related to the right for compensation and transparency under the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

Once the amendment is passed by the assembly, it will be sent to the President for his approval.

According to the proposed legislation, land can be acquired with social impact assessment for projects related to the welfare of the people. Such projects are identified as construction of schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, panchayat buildings, anganwadi kendras, water ways, electrification and irrigation, and drinking water pipeline.

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The decision to bring the legislation in the assembly was taken after the state government’s move to amend two land acts — the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act — saw wide protests, leading to its withdrawal.

According to the anti-conversion bill, which forbids conversion through allurement or coercion, anyone forcing religious conversion will be liable to imprisonment of three to four years and a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

The opposition parties are set to oppose both the bills.

“The Religious Independence Bill, 2017, is against the Constitution. The state government should make it clear what is the need of the for anti-conversion bill. The issue will be raised in the state assembly,” said Babulal Marandi, former Chief Minister and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik President.

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