BJP, govt put onus on Opposition parties to bring anti-conversion law

Religious conversion ceremony

New Delhi, Dec 21: A day after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat strongly defended religious conversions of the Sangh Parivar, the BJP and the government on Sunday put the onus on the opposition parties for bringing an anti-conversion law for which they were ready.

BJP President Amit Shah said government is ready to bring an anti-conversion law and dared the “so-called secular” opposition parties to support it while Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the opposition did not respond positively to this offer.

The comments by Shah and Naidu came a day after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat dared the opposition to support a law banning religious conversions.

The BJP chief asserted that such incidents would not derail the BJP-led NDA government from its development agenda.

Addressing a press conference in Chennai, Shah said:”BJP has made its stand clear on conversions. And no one can derail the party (government) from its development agenda.”

Shah, who is on a two-day visit to Chennai since yesterday, also said BJP’s stand on forced conversions was clear and the government was ready to bring a law to ban them.

“BJP is clear about its stand on forced conversions. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu has said in Parliament that the government is ready to bring in a law against forced conversions. Are the so called secular parties ready to support it?” he asked.
Shah declined to comment on Bhagwat’s remarks yesterday on trying to create a strong Hindu society.

Opposition parties have been seeking to corner the government on the ‘ghar wapsi’ campaign in parts of North India and stalled proceedings in Rajya Sabha demanding a statement from Modi.

It may be noted that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) came under fire today from the Congress and other opposition parties after more than 200 tribal Christians were converted to Hinduism in Gujarat.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh Tweeted: “Extreme right wing is flexing its muscles. VHP/RSS through Hindutva … rewriting history and economic policies.”

Another Congress leader Rashid Alvi said such acts by right-wing outfits only created a bad impression about India across the world.

Alvi told a news agency: “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and others are trying to destroy the country. If these people have been converted by coercion or inducement then it is a clear violation of law. But then what kind of image of India will be in the world.”

CPI leader D Raja also hit out at the VHP’s move saying, “India is not a Hindu Rashtra, but a democratic republic.”

Saturday’s mass ceremony took place in a tribal village 350 kilometres south of Ahmedabad.”As part of the ongoing ‘ghar-wapsi’ programme, VHP re-converted 225 people from Christian community and took them back into Hindu religion,” said Valsad district VHP chief Natu Patel.

VHP organised a ‘Maha Yagnya’ (ritual of the sacred fire) for “purification” of the tribals before taking them back in Hindu-fold and also gave each of them a copy of Bhagwad Gita.

The VHP ceremony came just hours after BJP president Amit Shah dared opposition parties to move a bill against “forcible conversions”

A controversy had erupted early this month when a right wing group had organised a ‘ghar-wapsi’ drive wherein it reportedly converted about 100 Muslims in Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

The incident had created a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha, with the Opposition demanding a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A similar incident was also reported from BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh where a party MP had claimed 39 tribal Christians were re-converted to Hinduism in Maoist-hit Bastar district in October this year.

(With Agency Inputs)

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