Gorakhpur: Two members of the Bharatiya Janata Party plan to introduce bills to stop religious conversions and initiate a debate on the issue in the coming session of the Parliament. Yogi Adityanath, a member of the Lok Sabha, the lower of house of parliament, and Tarun Vijay of the Rajya Sabha will introduce private member bills in their respective Houses during their winter session in late November. The MPs announced their decision on Friday during a conference on religious conversion organized at the Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur, a major town in Uttar Pradesh, northern India. The conference titled ‘Dharmantaran Rashtranataran Hai’ (religious conversion is nationality conversion), was part of a program to observe the death anniversaries of the temple’s former chief priests— Mahant Digvijay Nath and Mahant Avaidyanath. Tarun Vijay later told The Sunday Express that the debates will be held on the issue in the Parliament “on the lines of Thomas Jefferson’s famous Freedom of Religion Act-1786.” He claimed that it was essential to put a stop to conversions of Hindus and raise a voice to safeguard their existence as faithful Hindus. “I plan to introduce a private member Bill with like-minded MPs to stop conversion. Many MPs from other parties have shown interest. I am trying to build an all-party consensus by holding discussions with them,” Vijay said while refusing to reveal names of the “like-minded” MPs. “My line of argument is that religion must remain a matter of personal choice. But in India, it has become a political tool in the hands of foreign powers, who are targetting Hindus to fragment our nation again on communal lines. This has to be resisted in
national interest and in the interest of all minorities in India,” he added. Claiming that in India, religious conversion is a planned conspiracy, Vijay said: “Such areas get cut off from the country and Hindus are reduced to a minority.” He alleged that Hindus were forced to leave their houses in Jammu and Kashmir after “anti-national and separatists forces” became active there. Hindu majority is an essential guarantee for the flowering of democracy, constitutionalism and pluralism, he claimed. Yogi Adityanath told the conference that religious conversion has to be stopped as it is an “anti-national act.” “An aggressive campaign is required for ghar wapsi (home coming) of those Hindus, who had converted to other religions in the past,” he added. He also noted the recent Census data had revealed that Hindus population in India became less than 80 percent for first time, which he said was “an alarming situation.” He said various government commissions between 1956 and 1999 had indicated the consequences of a fall in the population of Hindus. “But the governments did not any pay heed to it for votes and power,” said Adityanath and added that Hindus cannot leave only to the government to maintain national unity and prevent religious conversion but should themselves take initiatives.