Shah Bid to Put Opposition on Mat on Conversion Law

Says conversions will end after legislation is enacted; Venkaiah seeks ‘larger consensus’

Published: 22nd December 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd December 2014 06:02 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI/HYDERABAD:  A day after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat dared the Opposition to back a law against religious conversions, BJP president Amit Shah seconded it, saying the party’s stand has always been unambiguous on forcedconversions.

“Once there is a law, this (conversion) will come to an end,” Shah said while speaking to the media in Chennai on Sunday, adding: “Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu has said in Parliament that the government was ready to bring a law against compulsory conversions. Are the so-called secular parties ready to support it?” However, Shah refused to be drawn into reacting to Bhagwat’s comments.

When the media persisted with queries on RSS involvement in the re-conversion campaign called ‘ghar wapsi’, spearheaded by some fringe outfits in the Parivar, he merely said: “RSS is a nationalist organisation and I have no doubt over this.” In the same breath, he said, “No one can derail us from development agenda.” The issue of conversion and re-conversion has been rocking the Rajya Sabha for days on end, often disrupting the business inside the House.  In Hyderabad, Venkaiah Naidu reacted to Bhagwat’s comment, stating that the government would wait for a consensus to emerge before bringing in a law. “BJP had already announced it would be right to bring a law against conversions as per the prevailing situation in the country. But, that is possible only when there is general consensus. Without consensus, the government would not bring any such law,” he told the media.

He added that the need for an all-India law on the matter would come if a State government’s law on the matter is not effective. “... the government has offered on the floor of Parliament, let’s go for an all-India law. The opposition did not respond positively,” said Naidu. Conversions, he added, have been happening in India since the pre-Independence era. Further, he said there should be discussion and debate on the issue. “Conversions are happening on a huge scale and foreign funding is involved. Everybody knows it,” he said.

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