ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL
79/B I&II Floors, Street 8, West Marredpally, Secunderabad,
President: Dr Joseph D' Souza Secretary General: Dr. John Dayal
Phone (91 11) 2722262 Fax 2726582 Mobile 09811021072
URGENT PRESS STATEMENT
NEW DELHI, October 7
Christian Council slams Tamil Nadu ban on Conversions, Will Challenge Ordinance
in Courts Jaya sings Sangh Parivar tune, violates Indian Constitution
[The following is the text of the statement issued by all India Christian
Council President Dr Joseph D Souza and Secretary General Dr John Dayal on the
Tamil Nadu government Ordinance banning conversions in the state.]
The All India Christian Council will challenge in Court the Ordinance banning
religious conversions "by force or fraud" promulgated on the night of 5th
October by the Governor of Tamil Nadu on the directions of Chief minister J
Jayalalithaa, Christian Council President Dr Joseph D'Souza and Secretary
General Dr John Dayal have said. "Chief minister Jayalalithaa has acted in
concert with the Sangh Parivar and is trying to implement the Hindutva agenda
in the southern state, the Council said.
"Forcible or induced conversion is an oxymoron. It is not possible, and is
rejected by the Church. Conversion is the exercise of free choice by an
Individual in fulfillment of his or her own spiritual needs. This is a basic
Human Right and is guaranteed in the Indian Constitution and by the United
Nations. Various state governments who have raised the bogey of induced or
forcible conversions have failed to find out even a single such case in the
past," the Council said.
These laws are primarily directed against the Christian community although in
Tamil Nadu and in some other states, Dalits and other marginalised groups who
are victims of extreme violence and social pressure have also converted to
Islam and to Buddhism. On 4 November 2001, tens of thousands of Dalits
converted to Buddhism in a ceremony in New Delhi and subsequently several such
ceremonies were held in Uttar Pradesh and other states. They are designed to
curtail all Christian development work among the marginalised.
"In fact, the only inducements by fraud and fear are those being carried out by
the Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the RSS in the Tribal belt under
the guise of Ghar Wapsi programme where innocent Tribals are being forced to
become Hindus. The Council has already urged the National Minorities Commission
to investigate the Sangh's Ghar Wapsi programme in the Tribal belt in which heavily armed thugs have been involved."
"The Constitutional provisions are also being violated by the Census office,
which disallows Tribals proclaiming the Sarna religion, and by several state government who lump all Tribals, animists and others into the majority religion," the Council said. "These denote a Hindutva mind set and denies to
marginalised people the option of free choice, conscience and freedom of faith."
The Council, which is already challenging a similar law in Orissa, is consulting senior legal experts on the Tamil Nadu ordinance, which has been
issued just days before the State assembly is to move. The Ordinance's timing
also coincides with a stringent anti -Christian campaign launched by the Sangh
Parivar in several other parts of the country, including Karnataka, Gujarat,
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
The Shiva Sena and the Bharatiya Janata party have been demanding similar laws
in all states and at the national level. Shiv Sena leader Anant Geethe, recently promoted as cabinet minister in the Union cabinet of Prime minister
Atal Behari Vajpayee is the author of a similar Bill pending in the Lok Sabha.
Curiously, that Bill says free education will be construed as an "inducement"
for religious conversions and will invite heavy penalties. This thoroughly
exposes the real intent and motives behind such laws, the Council said.
Issued for favour of Publication, Broadcast and Telecast by Dr John dayal