Under attack on conversions, Govt suggests law on it

Under attack on conversions, Govt suggests law on it

Facing accusations of pursuing communal agenda against the backdrop of conversion in Agra, government today asserted in Lok Sabha that it was committed to maintain communal harmony and suggested that all states as well as the Centre should have anti-conversion laws.

Replying to a debate on conversions even as several opposition parties staged a walkout, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu rejected allegations against "mother" organisation RSS and accused the opposition parties of spreading "misinformation" to "tar" the image of the Sangh as well as that of the Modi government.

During the discussion that was taken up after a round of uproar on the second straight day, opposition parties attacked the government, RSS and its affiliates, accusing them of creating communal polarisation and tensions, while citing the case of conversion of some Muslims in Agra.

Hitting back at the opposition and taking pot-shots at Congress which has been "rejected" in Lok Sabha polls, he said "some people are allergic to the word Hindu" and they target RSS and the government over any or other development that may occur in any state, ruled by any party.

On the particular incident of conversion in Agra, he made it clear that the Centre had no role in dealing with it as it was a subject matter of the Uttar Pradesh government and the local administration should take action.

However, if needed, the Centre could issue an advisory to the state government, he said while replying to the unscheduled short duration debate which was taken up on insistence of the opposition parties. Naidu replied in the absence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh who was campaigning in Jharkhand.

Describing conversions and re-conversions as "national challenge" as these create tensions, he said, "Let us introspect. Let there be anti-conversion laws in all states as also at the Centre" so that all religions practices and beliefs are preserved. "Let us all seriously work towards progress."

At the same time, Naidu said the freedom of faith cannot be a licence for sustained proselytisation with the help of foreign funds, which specifically targets tribals and the poor.

He said the Centre was committed to maintain communal harmony and was ready to offer any help to states for this.

He rejected the opposition contention that communal incidents had gone up since the Modi government came, saying these incidents have shown a decline as per the data collected from all the states.

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