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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Rajasthan cabinet clears anti-conversion bill

2006-03-29 Published by Gathered by Indo-Asian News Service

Jaipur, March 25 (IANS) The Rajasthan cabinet has approved an anti-conversion bill that seeks to treat forceful religion conversion as an unbailable offence and could entail a two to five year jail term for those found guilty.

The Rajasthan Dharm Swatantrik Vidheyak (Religious Freedom Bill) is likely to be passed in the ongoing budget session of the assembly. It was cleared at a cabinet meeting Friday evening chaired by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Singh Rathode said the bill contains a provision of two to five years of imprisonment for those found guilty of forcing and encouraging others to convert. He said the term 'forceful' in the bill also includes social boycott of the person, intimidating him in the name of god or any threat leading to personal losses. Similarly, encouraging a person to convert by promising financial assistance or personal profit will also be considered an offence. He said the decision to come out with an anti-conversion bill was taken after it was found that large-scale incidents of religion conversion were eing carried out in the state. Such conversions are a threat to the law and order situation, Rathore said. He said under the bill any person was entitled to register his or her complaint to the district magistrate. He said such anti-conversion laws already exist in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

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