Ghar Wapsi unconstitutional, Conversion constitutional right'
Muslims being allegedly converted into Hinduism in Agar of Uttar Pradesh: By Mumtaz Alam,
New Delhi, 21 Dec 2014: Minorities particularly Muslims and Christians are upset with recent saffron attempts for forced conversions and indications from the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a national legislation against conversion. While condemning the 'Ghar Wapsi' (home coming or reconversion of non-Hindus into Hinduism) campaign of Sangh Parivar outfits, Muslim and Christian leaders have opposed any anti-conversion law as they said conversion is a constitutional right.Justifying the 'ghar wapsi' campaign, Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said in Kolkata on Saturday: "We will bring back our brothers who have lost their way". Addressing a Hindu convention to mark the golden jubilee of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an affiliate of RSS, Bhagwat said: "Hindus do not believe in conversion. If anyone fears that Hindus are resorting<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]--> to conversion, let there be legislation in Parliament to stop this practice. "However, minorities are against both the 'ghar wapsi' campaign and anti-conversion move.
Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari
"It is utterly wrong. According to the Constitution of India, everyone has a right to convert himself. You cannot stop him. But this cannot be done through threats or inducements. It is not permitted that, for example, you ask a Muslim to convert to Hinduism and offer him money, ration card etc. Such activities are against the Constitution of the country," said Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari, National President, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind. He also said that forced conversion is not allowed in Islam."Islam calls itself on right but it does not force anyone to accept it. If one wants to accept it, it is his right," he said.On any anti-conversion law, he said it would be against the constitutional right. "Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has always spoken against conversion with force or inducements. Conversion issue has been in debate for long in India. But when you give freedom about belief and religion, then it is not easy to pass anti-conversion law. While our Constitution says that everyone is free to follow any religion of his choice, you say that conversion is not allowed. There is a clash between the two," he said.
Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan
On Ghar Wapsi campaign of saffron outfits, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, President, All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, said the attempt is old and they have renewed it as they think that now they are in full power and can do what they want."Ghar Wapsi has been here with different names. Shuddhikaran was started about 100 years ago, now we are in 21st century. The basic of that movement was the same that all people in India were Hindus, they should go back to their original religion. If this return journey goes then who knows where we will end up; because there must be some other religion also before Hinduism," said Dr Khan."This campaign is illegal,unconstitutional. But governments have been promoting such campaign.Earlier Britishers would promote it because they wanted to divide the society to rule the country. And then the first anti-conversion bill in Independent India was brought by the Congress party, and then it was brought by BJP. And now it is in practice in some states," said he.
Dr Khan, who is also editor of an English fortnightly The Milli Gazette, said minorities will not accept any such move."In the context of Agra incident, BJP wants a national anti-conversion law, which is not easy to achieve. This is their old dream and agenda which they want to implement now as they think their government is in place and whole country is in their grip. But they don't know that other communities particularly victims are not sleeping. They will certainly react against such campaign. And such reaction was seen in Agra also, and their efforts failed, and they got huge humiliation."The whole conversion campaign and frequent small communal clashes are part of a plan to polarize the country, said Dr. Khan. "They want polarisation in the entire country at all levels of elections – whether it is for municipality, assembly or parliament. They raise such issues not just to create polarization but also to maintain it."
On why PM Modi talks good about Muslims but some leaders of his party BJP and Sangh Parivar make hateful statements and divisive campaigns targeting minorities, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan said: "There is a division of labour among them: one will talk good things and about development. Our PM would say Indian Muslims are very good and loyal. They would live and die for the country, they cannot think of terrorism. But other forces who are spreading hatred and dividing the society are scot free and govt. or PM does not speak about them. It is the responsibility of the PM to speak, rather he should order probes against them. They are executing small riots on daily basis and in various parts of the country to keep the atmosphere hot to encash it politically when they need." Meanwhile, Christian leaders have also come out against move for anti-conversion law. They also say conversion is a constitutional right and no one can curb it.
Dr. John Dayal
If people are converting due to poverty the government should take steps to check it. If conversion is taking place due to caste factor then steps should be taken to annihilate caste as an institution and if somebody is being converted with physical force then law of land should be brought and a case of fraud under Section 420 should be registered, said Dr. John Dayal, eminent human rights activist and Christian leader."But if they are converting out of free will from any religion then they must be allowed to do so. Conversion is a constitutional right. I support conversion. Religion and nationality are the only two things that a person can change. Many NRIs (Indians) have thrown Indian passports and embraced foreign nationalities. Even Indian gurus are travelling all over the world, spreading message of their spiritualism and Hare Rama and Krishna sect has been converting tens and thousands of western people into Hinduism," Dr Dayal said.
Fr Dominic Emmanuel
On report that a Dalit family has converted to Christianity in Bhagalpur of Bihar and BJP has announced to send a probe team there, Father Dominic Emmanuel said: "Let them send a fact finding team. They should find out the truth. They are spoiling the atmosphere and openly targeting missionaries and organizing Ghar Wapsi and now they want to probe. They should send an all-party and multi-party team to Bihar and ascertain the facts and truth before making allegations."
Fr. Dominic said that the saffron affiliates have been making all types of allegations. "There are allegations against the church. Let people complain. The people who have converted are being threatened of social boycott. Until and unless people complain there cannot be any ground of targeting and making allegations."
Published in India Tomorrow.net, on 21 Dec 2014.