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Jharkhand government clears anti-conversion bill 

Patna: Jharkhand’s BJP-led government headed by chief minister Raghubar Das on Tuesday cleared the draft of an anti-conversion bill with provisions of jail term up to four years and fine up to Rs 1 lakh for those converting anyone’s religion through force or allurement.

With the government planning to introduce the bill in the Assembly’s upcoming monsoon session starting August 8, opposition parties Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Congress said they would protest against any legislation that seeks “to impose the RSS ideology on tribals”.

The proposed legislation, christened Religious Freedom Bill, 2017, originated out of concerns in Jharkhand about a significant rise in the Christian and Muslim population in the state in recent years. If it is passed, which is a foregone conclusion given the majority the BJP-led government has in the Assembly, Jharkhand will become the sixth state to have an anti-conversion law.

Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat already have the law in place.

The Jharkhand cabinet cleared the bill that has provisions such as a minimum jail term of three years and/or a fine of Rs 50,000, or both, for anyone found guilty of converting people. A four-year jail term and/or a fine of Rs 1 lakh, or both, would be meted out to anyone found converting a minor girl belonging to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, said sources familiar with the draft bill.

Checking religious conversions in Jharkhand, where tribals account for 26 per cent of the state’s total population, has been a pet theme of the BJP-led government’s agenda since it came to power in December 2014. As per the 2011 census, Jharkhand’s Christian population grew by 29.7 per cent and that of Muslims by 28.4 per cent while the Hindu population rose by 21 per cent in the previous ten years.

The proposed law is likely to increase the ongoing confrontation between the combined forces of BJP and RSS, which has been active in most parts of Jharkhand for decades, and the Church.

The Raghubar Das government’s recent bid to amend two decades-old tenancy laws, which have so far prevented the tribal people’s alienation from their land, was foiled by strong protests and finally governor Droupadi Murmu’s refusal to sign it into law, The New Indian Express reported.

“Laws like this will divide Jharkhand’s tribal society. We will strongly oppose it,” said JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya, accusing the government of over-enthusiasm to check religious conversions.

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4 Responses to Jharkhand government clears anti-conversion bill

  1. ajit kongari

    hindu population is increasing in other parts of the world in uk us canada.indians who migrate to christain countries are mostly hindus. and their numbers are increasing by the day.just check the foreign consulates and count the indians standing in ques for visas. majority are hindus

     
  2. ajit kogari

    its an irony that the bjp has become so concerned about protecting tribal culture. if thats the case how come the tribals have become poorer under its regime. why not respect the sarna religion. and grant it a the relgious code.indegenous people have been practicing the sarna way of worship since time immemorial.will the government recognize . is it a ploy to keep them ignorant and illterate so they cold be manipulated.cnt spt amendment was a sure indication of that.no one can deny christainity has brought education for tribals and the others of course.let the bjp clean itself by expelling its members who might have availed of any missionary run educational/medical institution.and then they can worry about tribal society hindu population may have had slower growth rate due to other reasons,such as poverty,illeteracy suicide,migration etc etc.why not take care of the basic needs of the poor,who are mostly hindus, which would automatically wold keep the poor from converting. coz for the poor and hungry its a matter of survival and existence.
    for any culture to survive the people’s basic needs have to be fulfilled first.
    cant call a hungry man greedy he is needy

     
  3. Kalappura Thomas

    I have typed comments. How has it disappeared ? There is something wrong please correct the system so that readers can comment

     
  4. A. S. Mathew

    Your Government don’t like to see the low caste and Dalit people getting out of the slavery of your religion; thus wanted to make an anti-conversion bill. Morarji Desai, while he was the PM of India, along with one O.P. Thyagi tried to introduce a national anti-conversion law; but his political career was abruptly finished before the bill was introduced by O.P. Thyagi.

    How many thousands of young and old are now crying due to the closing of funds by the Central Government for the NGOs? The living GOD is fed up with these actions, HIS mysterious hand will write on the wall with some dire warning.

     
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