Jharkhand: Christian bodies, political parties submit memorandum to governor against anti-conversion bill

August 18, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

Jharkhand, August 18, 2017: Within a week of the anti-conversion bill passed in the Jharkhand assembly, Christian bodies, under the banner of Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh (RIM), on Friday submitted a memorandum to the Governor against the anti-conversion bill. The main opposition party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, and the Congress have already submitted their memoranda in this regard. They have also opposed proposed amendments in the land acquisition Act-2013, which too was passed on August 12. The moves come in the wake of the fact that the Governor had returned the proposed amendments to the Chhotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act, which had to be withdrawn by the state government in the just-concluded monsoon session. Among the objections raised by the Governor with regard to the CNT/SPT amendments was lack of clarity on the objective and failure to explain as to how this would benefit the tribal.

In its memorandum submitted today, the RIM questioned the need for such a bill. If there is large scale conversion going on, then why did the government not invoke Section 295 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the same thing? Also, what is the basis of the government claim about the information about large scale conversion? the memorandum asked. The memorandum also claimed that Section 5 of the proposed bill made it mandatory to get permission from the Deputy Commissioner in advance before performing any conversion, which was against the Constitutional provisions of right to privacy and right to practice one religion.

It appears that the bill is aimed at harassing the Church and missionaries, the memorandum said, adding that misleading advertisements have been brought out targeting the Christian missionaries. A JMM leader said that the party was clear from the first day that such a bill was only to create divisions between the tribal people and the party would oppose it all levels. Congress too had opposed the bill saying it would only add to the communal disharmony, which was the agenda of the BJP. Meanwhile, the BJP leaders maintained that they were confident about the bill getting approval by the Governor and there would be no repeat of the CNT/SPT amendment fiasco. We are prepared. If we feel the need, the party would also petition the Governor this time. However, we are confident that this would not be required. The Bill just puts things in perspective and is not aimed to target anybody,” said a BJP leader, on the condition of anonymity.

State BJP spokesperson Deen Dayal Barnwal said: The matter is now with the Governor and, so there is nothing much to do for the Party. We are clear that both the bills have been introduced with a clear vision. We are keeping a watch and, if needed, proper steps would be taken to ensure that this bill is approval. Sources in the Chief Minister Office maintained that the more opposition opposed the amendments, the more they would be exposed. Also, if we know that some people oppose just for the sake of it, their credibility goes down. We see no hurdle in the passage of the bill, said a source.

– the indian express

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