States asked to act against communal incidents

Law and order is a state subject, says federal home minister

New Delhi: The federal government on Tuesday said states should act against sectarian violence as law and order is their prerogative.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the federal government would not tolerate anything that disturbs communal harmony existing in the country.

Responding to questions in Lok Sabha (the lower house of parliament) over religious conversion, Singh said the government wants an anti-conversion law. India is the only country where minorities do not seek such a law, he added.

The government has been facing criticism over its handling of ‘ghar wapsi’ (home coming) campaign and vandalization of churches.

Responding to concerns voiced by opposition members over churches being targeted, he asserted that government will not tolerate anything that disturbs communal harmony.

“I want to assure, especially the minorities, that government will protect them with all its might,” he said.

Seeking to put the ball in the court of states over the issue, he said law and order was a state subject. “States should take strict action. How can the Centre intervene?”

He referred to a recent attack on a church in Agra in UP and said he was “sad” about it and added that he was not aware of what action the state government had taken on it, The Times of India reported.

The Home Minister said attacks on religious places have been occurring for long and there have also been instances of vandalism and theft at temples.

Hinting that the BJP government was being targeted for political reasons, he said he had figures to prove his point but refrained from making them public as he was not interested in doing politics over such a sensitive issue.

“If I was interested in political gains, I would have tabled all statistics over the issue. It would hurt feelings of many people. But it would create an unnecessary controversy… I appeal to all not to do politics over the issue,” he said.

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