No threat to religious freedom: Venkaiah

December 22, 2014 01:27 am | Updated April 07, 2016 05:25 am IST - HYDERABAD:

Union Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu addresses a press conference in Hyderabad on Sunday.  Photo: P V SIVAKUMAR

Union Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Venkaiah Naidu addresses a press conference in Hyderabad on Sunday. Photo: P V SIVAKUMAR

It was not the secular fabric of the country but the ‘vote bank politics’ which was under attack. “There is no threat to religious freedom. There is no communal tension anywhere,” said Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu.

Speaking to presspersons here on Sunday, he criticised the Opposition for trying to give an impression that the national agenda had changed with the Narendra Modi government coming to power. “There is no deviation from the agenda of development at all. The Opposition should understand the spirit of parliamentary democracy and allow the House to function,” Mr. Naidu said.

Religious conversions were taking place before and after Independence and so were re-conversions. As far back as 1923 the Hindu Mahasabha and the Arya Samaj had organised a ‘ shuddhi’ (purification) programme to bring people back into the Hinduism. But neither the government nor the BJP had anything to do with them. Everyone had a right to embrace the faith of his choice but there should not be any allurements or force. Mr. Naidu quoted a newspaper report to say how 70 Hindus in Uttar Pradesh were converted to Christianity through offer of mobile phones and cash.

When Hindus were converted through inducements there was no hue and cry but when re-conversions took place, everyone cried foul, the Minister said. “If re-conversions are bad, so are conversions,” Mr. Naidu said. He quoted an article from The Hindu .

He said if States were unable to check such things, there should be a Central law. But the Centre was not for bringing a law against conversions unilaterally, he added.

Godse statue

Mr. Naidu ruled out support for the installation of statue of Nathuram Godse, saying it was against the public mood. The BJP held Mahatma Gandhi, who brought freedom to the country, in high esteem, he said.

The Union Minister appealed to the Opposition not to stall the proceedings of Parliament since only two days were left for the session. There were important Bills such as the Insurance Bill, Coal Mines National Amendment Bill, Anti-Hijacking of Aircraft Bill and Delhi Special Law Enactment Bill. The latter was due to expire on January 31. If the Bill was not passed then thousands of persons would be evicted and their premises sealed, the Minister said.

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