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Millennium Post

Paswan sings different tune on conversion

Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ramvilas Paswan has broken ranks with ruling alliance leader BJP on the issue of bringing a fresh anti-conversion bill. Contradicting BJP president Amit Shah’s statement on conversion issue, Paswan on Tuesday categorically said, “Existing laws regarding conversion are sufficient.”

Notably, Shah had on last Friday said that BJP was keen on a consensus on the issue of religious conversion. “There should be a thorough debate on the matter as we need to have a general consensus on the conversion issue after which the government can think of a bill,” Shah had said in Mumbai.

While talking to Millennium Post the chief of NDA’s key ally Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) said, “According to Article 25, everybody has a right of free profession, practice and propagation of religion and there are also provisions to check conversion by coercion and allurement if any.”

“If anybody tries to indulge in forcible conversion, there is Indian Penal Code in place. Section 153(a) of IPC classifies forcible attempts in the name of religion as a criminal offence,” said Paswan.

He was a minister in UPA I government between 2004 and 2009, and switched over to the NDA just ahead of Lok Sabha polls last year.

In reply to a question on controversial statements on conversion by BJP MPs Yogi Adityanath, minister in Modi cabinet Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, and its affiliate RSS, Paswan said, “Those, who are talking about it are not part of the government. Neither is the government saying any such thing nor has Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about issues like Ram Temple, Article 370, ghar wapsi.”
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