In India, mass conversions happen by force: Venkaiah Naidu

  • Agrees conversions cannot be tolerated
  • Says numerical figures of Hindus and others cannot lessen
  • Calls Dinanath batra, a great educationist
  • Takes pride in his RSS background

New Delhi, December 11: The issue of conversions of nearly 100 members of Muslim families from an Agra slum rocked the parliament for the second day on Thursday. Congress and Samajwadi Party led the protests and had earlier given notices over alleged forced conversion in Agra by groups affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and demanded a debate on the issue. The members from organisations like Dharam Jagran Dal and Bajrang Dal are said to be involved in inducing people to convert to Hinduism luring them with a promise of a Ration card and an Aadhar number.

The opposition MPs demanded a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that conversion by force and allurement is a criminal offence. Opposition led BSP Chief Mayawati and Congress leader Anand Sharma raised the issue on Wednesday and Mayawati said, “It is the responsibility of the party that comes to power to ensure people are allowed to follow their faiths without facing any discrimination. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that forcible conversions do not take place.” Replying to the demand Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that BJP was as committed to secularism as anyone else and an FIR has already been filed against the people involved in conversions. However no organisation name is mentioned in the FIR.

Towards the end of the day’s proceedings BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu vehemently defended the government in his statement in Loksabha. “Some people are behaving as if the government is responsible for these conversions. It is a national challenge; it is not happening only today, it has been happening for a long time. And the government has just come to power. Some people are trying to use this to just accuse our government,” he said.

He opposed the accusation that communal violence has increased since BJP came to power saying the opposition is quoting inflated figures. He also said that he checked with Home ministry who is in touch with UP government and that there is peace in the region. He used the opportunity to defend Dinanath Batra calling him a great educationist and once again proclaimed his pride of having RSS background and said that it is the discipline of RSS that has brought him so far. “It is well known in this country that mass conversion happen by force. Sardar Patel admitted mass conversions took place in India. I submit that we cannot tolerate this. We do not want that the numerical figures of Hindus and others to lessen,” he stated amidst protests and walkouts over his statements.

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