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Himachal Pradesh passes anti-conversion legislation

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  • Mahavir
    Himachal Pradesh passes anti-conversion legislation Download Free ScreenSavers and Wallpapers! - http://surl.in/HLSCR252953RAKKHCH Dharamshala, Dec 30:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2007
      Himachal Pradesh passes anti-conversion legislation

      Download Free ScreenSavers and Wallpapers! -
      http://surl.in/HLSCR252953RAKKHCH


      Dharamshala, Dec 30: Himachal Pradesh has passed a legislation
      banning forced religious conversions.

      The Congress-led government in the state passed the legislation
      during its four-day winter session held at the newly constructed
      Vidhan Sabha (State Legislature) in Dharamshala on Friday.

      Kaul Singh, Law Minister, Himachal Pradesh, said, that "according to
      the bill if someone was forced to change his religion without his
      consent then he could come back to his own religion within a month".

      Under the bill, persons who had forced or induced someone to change
      his/her religion then he/she would liable for punishment, he said.

      The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also welcomed the
      Bill.

      In the recent months, five states ruled by BJP or its allies have
      introduced or strengthened anti-conversion laws, which they say will
      protect India's religious identity and foster communal harmony. But
      this is the first time such a law has been passed in a government
      ruled by Congress Party, which has been critical of such laws in BJP-
      ruled states.

      Under some of the new laws, anyone planning to leave the Hindu fold
      must obtain certificates from officials and affidavits from courts
      saying they were converting out of free will and not by inducements.

      For decades, conversion has been a sensitive issue in India, with
      right-wing Hindus accusing Christian missionaries in particular of
      converting poor Hindus with inducements such as free schooling and
      health care.

      But Christians, who have long advocated for the rights of Dalits, say
      those who switch their faith do so to escape the oppressive caste
      system amongst Hindus.

      Minority groups also say Hindu hardliners polarize voters on
      religious lines to gain political mileage.

      Millions of low-caste Hindus switch their faith to escape the 3,000-
      year-old rigid caste system dominated by the once-priestly Brahmin
      class.

      Hindu scriptures divide people into Brahmin priests, warriors,
      farmers and labourers, while the rest are beyond definition –
      called "Dalits".

      The dalits, who constitute over 16 per cent of India's 1.1 billion
      population, are considered "untouchables", and often face
      discrimination, performing the most menial and degrading jobs.

      The caste system still persists in villages, despite the country's
      spectacular economic success and exposure to Western culture. India's
      constitution also forbids caste discrimination.

      Hindus form 80 per cent of secular India's billion-plus population,
      while Muslims account for 13 per cent, Christians less than three per
      cent and religious minorities such as Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and
      Parsis make up the rest.

      Bureau Report

      http://www.zeenews.com/articles.asp?aid=345082&sid=REG&ssid=
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