Rajnath pitches for anti-conversion law

"Government will not tolerate anything that disturbs communal harmony."

April 28, 2015 05:02 pm | Updated 07:17 pm IST - New Delhi

Under fire for attacks on minority institutions and divisive statements by members of the Sangh Parivar, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday sought to put the responsibility of maintaining communal harmony on state governments while once again suggesting an anti-conversion law to put an end to "ghar-wapsi."

In his reply to the discussion on the Demand for Grants under the Home Ministry in Lok Sabha , Mr. Singh said the unanimous enactment of an anti-conversion law would be the best way to put an end to oft-repeated questions on communal harmony and 'ghar-wapsi'. No country can countenance a change in its demographic profile through conversions, he said adding that in most countries it is the minorities who want an anti-conversion law but it is not so in India.

This is the second time Mr. Singh has pushed for an anti-conversion law after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in mid-February said: "We consider the freedom to have, to retain, and to adopt, a religion or belief, is a personal choice of a citizen."

Further, according to Mr. Singh, the Centre cannot be held responsible for incidents such attacks on mosques and churches in different parts of the country, and the federal arrangement does not allow the Centre to intervene in such matters. Maintaining that religious places including temples have been attacked in several places, "If there is an attempt to disturb communal harmony, state governments should act with a firm hand," he said.

Repeatedly saying that he had data to show that attacks on religious places have been taking place even before the BJP Government came to power, the Minister said he did not want to use it to draw political mileage and sought to assure minorities that they were equal citizens of India.

He also urged the Opposition not to politicise stray incidents of attacks on religious places – often burglaries – and divide the country. When the Opposition countered this by pointing out that it is members of the Sangh Parivar who were vitiating the atmosphere by indulging in 'ghar wapsi’ campaigns and referring to minorities in pejorative terms, he condemned such offensive statements but left unanswered the question on why no disciplinary action had been taken against such members of the BJP.

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