Muhammad Atif Sheikh
Persecution of Minorities in India-II
The Myth of Secular India Busted
Although laws are meant to thwart forced conversions, laws of religious freedom in India are generally known as “anti-conversion laws”. And, the ruling BJP is making all-out efforts to enforce such laws throughout the country. UK government’s Independent Advisory Group on Country Information (IAGCI) in its report titled “Country Policy and Information Note India: Religious minorities” says that these laws are “one-sided, only concerned about conversions away from Hinduism but not toward Hinduism.” BJP’s former president and currently his country’s Minister for Home Affairs, Amit Shah, keeps on advocating for a nationwide anti-conversion law. Moreover, in April 2005, another BJP member—now India’s Minister for Defence—Rajnath Singh had also called for banning religious conversion in India so as to preserve the so-called communal harmony in the Indian society, critics have termed such a policy as tantamount to curbing fundamental religious freedoms. It must also be noted that the laws that are presumably to protect Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes against discrimination and oppression cannot be called successful as the tendency to misuse the provisions of the Act against innocent people—a matter the Supreme Court of India had itself admitted and had ordered that “the Act cannot be converted into a charter for exploitation or oppression by any unscrupulous person or by police for extraneous reasons against other citizens as has been found on several occasions. … Any harassment of an innocent citizen, irrespective of caste or religion, is against the guarantee of the Constitution.”
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