The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christian minister's no to anti-conversion bill

Ranchi, Dec 13 Enos Ekka, Jharkhand's lone Christian minister, has reacted sharply to the proposed Anti-Conversion Bill announced by Chief Minister Arjun Munda.

Addressing a tribal rally on Sunday, Munda had announced he would bring legislation to ban conversion in the state to protect tribal culture and identity. Most of the independent legislators supported the announcement but Ekka, also an independent legislator, issued a statement opposing such a bill.

'I do not feel it is appropriate to introduce such a bill. In a secular country like India everyone has the right to live on the call of his conscience. If anybody wants to change his religion willingly he should not be prevented from doing so,' Ekka's press statement said Monday.

'People should not be bound by any law. We supported the government on the condition that no different attitude will be adopted towards Christians and Muslims.'

Ekka is one of the five independents supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. The five independents are known as G-5. Later one more independent supported the government. But two of the G-5 ministers, Madhu Koda, who is a tribal, and Chandra Prakash Chaudhary have already supported Munda's announcement.

Reacting to the statement of Ekka, Chaudhary told reporters: 'Ekka is a Christian and it is natural that he will oppose such a bill. But we are in favour that forceful conversion through alluring people is wrong.'

Christians number four percent of the state's total population of 26.91 million. Christians number four percent of the state's total population of 26.91 million. Christian missionaries are active in most parts of the state, especially in tribal dominated areas where large-scale conversions are taking place. Tribals constitute 27 percent of the state's population.

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