BJP proposes anti-religious conversion law, ban on cow slaughter, sand mining

March 22, 2021 09:45 pm | Updated 09:48 pm IST - CHENNAI

Union minister Nitin Gadkari releases BJP's manifesto for Tamil Nadu elections, in Chennai on March 22, 2021.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari releases BJP's manifesto for Tamil Nadu elections, in Chennai on March 22, 2021.

The BJP’s Tamil Nadu Assembly election manifesto has proposed to enact legislations to criminalise “forcible” religious conversions, ban cow slaughter and ban sand mining for a period of five years, among other proposals. The administration of Hindu temples would be handed to a separate board comprising Hindu scholars and saints, it said.

The manifesto, released by BJP leader and Union Minister for Highways Nitin Gadkari, in the presence of BJP Tamil Nadu president L. Murugan and other senior leaders in Chennai, on Monday, also proposed to set up gaushalas in temples or shelters, provide financial assistance to fisherfolk and temple priests, and create 50 lakh jobs.

The party proposed to enact a Freedom of Religion Act bringing in strict anti-conversions laws to criminalise religious conversion by force or allurement. The party said it would implement the recommendations of Justice Venugopal Commission to prevent communal violence in the State. The party also proposed to implement an Anti-Cow Slaughter Act “in accordance with the Indian Constitution and enforce it strictly in the State.” There will be a total ban on smuggling of cows to Kerala and other States for beef and meat, the party said.

The BJP will ban sand mining for a period of five years in the State to prevent the erosion of riverbeds and improve groundwater table. During this time, import of sand for construction will be allowed, the party said. Encroachments on waterbodies, lakes, tanks, ponds, riverbanks will be removed as per the Supreme Court order, it said. It will also take steps to interlink various rivers in the State and construct one lakh check dams to improve the ground water table, the party said.

It will also implement the New Education Policy “in its entirety”, make Tamil the medium of instruction in all government and private schools for Classes 1 to 5, divide Chennai Corporation into three municipal corporations similar to New Delhi, and revive the Legislative Council.

The BJP has also proposed to provide a minimum income of ₹5,000 per month for all village temple priests, archakas and battacharyas, increased scholarships to the families of village temple priests, recruit daily wage workers in various temples on a permanent basis, provide assistance of ₹6,000 per year for fishermen on the lines of the assistance provided to farmers.

It promised to implement total prohibition in the State, recover 12 lakh acres of panchami land and hand it back to the Scheduled Caste people of Tamil Nadu.

The party intends to abolish female infanticide completely in the State, deposit ₹1 lakh in the account of each girl child born in a Below Poverty Line family, provide free two-wheeler driving licence to girls aged between 18 and 23.

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