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RS adjourned as Opp locks horns over conversion

The issue of religious conversion and the failure of the government to give unequivocal assurances against the same marred the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha on Monday. The Upper House remained adjourned for the day after a united Opposition created uproar over conversions, pressing for an assurance by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that such acts would not be allowed.

Initially, the Opposition vociferously pressed for an urgent discussion on conversions and when it was agreed to, it demanded that Modi should be present and provide a convincing reply to the debate.
The government, on the other hand, insisted that the reply will be given by Home Minister, leading to a deadlock because of which the House was adjourned for the day at 3 pm, after four previous adjournments. Arun Jaitley said the government was ready for debate on any issue as he asked the Opposition if it wanted a “total ban on religious conversion or forced conversion”, either of which was acceptable to the former.

The Opposition voiced concern over reports of conversion in Agra recently and wanted no less than the Prime Minister himself to assure the House and the country that such things would not be allowed.

Members from parties like Congress, Left and TMC said the issue was serious as it will hurt the secular fabric of the country and only the Prime Minister should reply. They were in the Well shouting slogans, “Pradhanmantri Jawab do-jawab do” and “stop conversion”.

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurein said he cannot ask the government which particular minister or the Prime Minister should reply. He noted that the Home Minister was sitting in the House and ready to reply. “Do you think he (Home Minister) is not competent to reply,” Kurein asked the Opposition.

Attacking the Opposition, Jaitley said it was only interested in distraction and not the debate. Sharad Yadav (JD-U) demanded to know as to what action was being taken by the government. “Keeping MPs (of your party) in check is in your hand. Till the Prime Minister takes strict action, nothing will happen. Your party people are doing this,” Yadav said.
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