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Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Announces Bill to Ban Polygamy in Upcoming Assembly Session

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of Assam has announced that a bill prohibiting polygamy will be introduced in the upcoming session of the Assam Assembly in February 2024. Sarma, in a press conference held in the national capital, said that the proposed legislation had been carefully developed after extensive consultations with various individuals and organizations.

“The bill to ban polygamy will be placed on the Assam assembly floor, which will commence from February 4,” Sarma said during the announcement.

The Chief Minister said that the legislation would incorporate provisions aimed at addressing concerns related to “love jihad” within the state. “Love jihad” is a term used by Hindu groups, alleging that Muslim men purposely convert non-Muslim women through love and marriage, but it has been widely criticized as unfounded and divisive.

The move comes after the state administration invited public feedback on the proposed law, receiving a substantial response. A total of 149 recommendations were submitted in response to the public notice, with an overwhelming 146 expressing support for the prohibition of polygamy. Only three organizations declared their opposition to the bill.

On August 21, 2023, the state administration issued a public notice, urging the people of Assam to share their opinions on the proposed law via mail or email by August 30.

The state government established an expert group tasked with examining the legislative authority of the Assam state legislature to pass such a law. The committee’s report confirmed that the state legislature possesses the authority to enact laws prohibiting polygamy after thorough consultations with various stakeholders.

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