New Delhi | Opposition parties today hit out at the Centre over the issue of alleged forced re-conversions in Agra and accused it of following the Hindutva agenda, a charge rejected by BJP ministers. Condemning the Sangh Parivar action, former Union minister and senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily said it was anti- national and demanded the intervention of the Prime Minister in the issue.
The central and state governments must take these issues very seriously. Prime Minister should step into such cases. Give some statement possibly in Parliament, he said. Moily’s party colleague and former Minister of State for Minority Affairs Ninong Ering said he had tried to raise the issue, but was not allowed to do so. I got up several times to raise the issue, but was not allowed to speak on it. It is the prerogative of the Speaker to allow people to speak.
If conversions happen willingly then it’s fine, but if people are lured with any kind of promises, then it sends a wrong message, Ering said. Expressing shock over the matter, CPI’s D Raja alleged that attempts are being made to impose the Hindutva agenda on everybody. It’s a conscious attempt to impose the Hindutva agenda on everybody. The state government should take serious note and the (Union) Home Ministry must take serious note of this and they must act accordingly to uphold the basic values of the Constitution, he said.
CPI-M leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury said the re-conversions were a ploy to vitiate the environment before Christmas. This is clearly a ploy, a scheme, being worked out before Christmas. This is the dirtiest of vote-bank politics being played by RSS and the BJP.
The RSS chief has gone on record to say that for the first time they have got control of the central government (and) so, will pursue their agenda of transforming the secular, democratic Indian republic into their version of a rabidly intolerant fascist nation. And that is what you see in practice, Yechury said.
At least 100 persons from 37 families were reportedly re-converted to Hinduism at a ceremony organised by an offshoot of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the cantonment area of Agra on Dec. 8. The Dharma Jagran cell of RSS and Bajrang Dal claimed to have jointly organised the event where about 100 people, mostly slum dwellers, were re-converted and brought back to the Hindu fold.
Meanwhile, saying that the ruling BJP should not vitiate the atmosphere in the country in the name of re-conversion, AAP today led a delegation of its MPs to Home Minister Rajnath Singh. But BJP ministers dismissed any allegations about the re- conversions having been carried out forcibly, saying that the people had come forward voluntarily for the exercise in Agra.
Those who are making allegations, I think they are doing so because it is their habit. Those who have converted, have done so voluntarily. No one can be forced to change their religion. So, it is not proper to target a particular organisation by making such allegations, said Union Minister Kalraj Mishra.
His Cabinet colleague, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, echoed those views, saying, If some people have done so (re-converted) voluntarily, then it is their right. If there is any coercion, the local administration will see about that. As far as the opposition is concerned, they always want some issue.
BJP leader Vinay Katiyar said that the consent of the participants was obtained before their re-conversion. We don’t do anything forcibly. We do it with consent, Katiyar said. Asked whether the re-conversion was done after luring people with rations, he said, The matter will be investigated.
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