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Law on Conversions cause uproar in parliament; Gov. under attack

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New Delhi (Dec. 12, 2014): The government on Thursday said that it was committed to maintain communal harmony in the country and suggested that all states as well as the Centre should have anti-conversion laws. The government hit out at the Opposition parties for accusing that the RSS was behind the conversion.

“The RSS is a great organisation. I am proud to belong to the RSS...you cannot accuse our mother organisation,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said replying to the discussion on the religious conversion issue.

The Opposition parties hit out at the government saying that the PM should clarify on the Agra conversion issue.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned twice as the Opposition demanded urgent discussion. Not satisfied with his clarification, the Opposition members staged a walkout. “The Prime Minister should issue a statement on the issue so that communal harmony is maintained in the country. We want him to clarify to this House and the nation,” Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia said initiating the discussion.

Scindia and scores of other MPs accused the BJP and RSS-affiliated bodies for the conversion and reported moves for more such events.  The BJP MPs were protested every time the RSS was named in the House. BJP MPs, who participated in the discussion,  however said the current incident was a non-issue and didn’t mandate for a discussion. However, they quoted history to say conversions have been on since the advent of the Mughals.

The biggest surprise came from Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh, who earlier demanded a discussion saying the issue was serious, but when his turn came he said why was the House reacting to newspaper reports and that it was a non-issue.

Naidu said the government was always ready for discussion. As law and order was a state subject, the Centre was ready to assist the state governments in taking action, he said.

He added that he had spoken to the Agra District Magistrate who told him that there was “total peace.”

“There is no problem with regard to public order. Even Mulayam Singh Ji said it. He is former Chief Minister of the state. We respect his experience. Though he himself is not happy with the general law and order situation there and all that, he has been giving suggestions,” Naidu said using Yadav’s recent statement to government’s advantage.

Suggesting that conversions have been taking place for long, and even former leaders had spoken about money being spent for proselytisation, Naidu added, “Let us introspect. Let there be anti-conversion laws in all states as also at the Centre.”

TMC MP Saugata Roy hit out at the BJP saying it was polarising the society, referring to a ruling party MP’s comment that Nathuram Godse was a patriot. “I thought the BJP is for Ram. Now I got to know that it is for Nathuram...,” he said.