Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Gujarat pulls out anti-conversion bill

Gujarat government pulls out the controversial Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill on Monday which made state interference necessary for conversion but allowed conversion from one faction to another in the same religion.

The move came only after the Governor N K Sharma returned the bill to sought explanation of the provision given in the bill against Article 25 of our Constitution.

The Governor remarked, “The provisions of amendment bill violated Article 25 of the constitution, which guarantees to all citizens to freely profess, practice and propagate any religion. The bill should be reconsidered for suitable amendments so as to bring its contents in conformity with the constitution.”

“The proposed amendment would amount to withdrawing the protection against forceful or inappropriate religious conversions, particularly in case of Jains and Buddhists,” he added.
A provision in the bill clubbed Jain and Buddhism into the same religion Hindu, Sunni and Shia in Muslim while placing Protestants and Catholics in Christianity.

The ire of the people and various institutions lied in the provision for seeking the DM's permission mandatory for any conversion, unlike other state where this is not mandatory.
The withdrawal of the bill is also seen as aftereffects Asma Jahangir who visited Gujarat on March 9 as UN special representative on freedom of religion and met Narendra Modi who assured her that there is complete religious freedom in Gujarat and the minorities are safe in the state.

The bill aims at discouraging conversion but especially it will batter Dalits as the bill clubbed Jainism, Buddhism with Hinduism. Dalits generally convert to Buddhism, who might be forcibly converted or lure back to convert to Hinduism. The bill also wanted to replace the definition of forced conversion under which a person if relinquished one denomination and adopt another of the same religion would be excluded from the purview of conversion. The amendment but considered Sikh as separate religion.

The All India Digambar Jain Dharam Sanrakshini Sabha reacted strongly with the other social and religious organisation against the union of their religion with Hindu.

This step as many experts view will flare up communal tensions and it also defy Supreme Court verdict which identified both Jainism and Buddhism as separate religion in 1992 and 2004 respectively.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Latest Jain News