HYDERABAD: Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said that the BJP and the NDA Government has nothing to do with religious conversions or re-conversions and in the same breath, put the onus on the Opposition, pointing out that they had not responded to the Centre’s proposal to bring in a nationwide law against conversions.
Speaking at a press conference here, the minister said, “Conversions and re-conversions happened before Independence and have been going on even after Independence. They happened yesterday and today also, some people would have been converted already. The Government of India has nothing to do with conversions or re-conversions. The BJP has nothing to do with conversions or re-conversions.”
On the controversy surrounding the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ programme in Uttar Pradesh, he recalled that re-conversion was an old practice. “The Arya Samaj and Hindu Mahasabha had launched the programme of ‘Shuddhi’ on a large-scale in Uttar Pradesh in 1923. We are in 2014. Ghar Wapsi or re-conversions is not a new thing,” he asserted.
However, he found fault with those who resort to forced conversions or offer benefits as an inducement to convert others. “If re-conversion is bad, (then) conversion is (also) bad. If conversion is good, (then) re-conversion is (also) good. It is people’s choice. But if there is inducement, allurement or force, then it is wrong. Action should be taken by the state government,” Naidu said.
Hitting out at the Opposition, he remarked that some choose to raise an alarm only when people of other religions convert to Hinduism. “The Central government has already offered on the floor of Parliament an All-India law but it is the Opposition which is not responding positively,” he said and added that it was the Congress, which had brought an anti-conversion law earlier. “Legislation cannot be brought unilaterally. There should be discussion and debate on this. Conversions are happening on a huge scale and foreign funding is involved in it, everybody knows this,” Naidu said.
On the demand by some to honour Nathuram Godse, the Mahatma’s murderer, Naidu said there was no question of allowing Godse’s statue. “It will create public disorder and is also against national interest. The BJP condemns it, the government condemns it. The entire country respects Mahatma Gandhi who was responsible for the freedom of India,” Naidu said.