By Rajan Tandon : ‘Religion’ is a matter of faith but belief in God is not essential to constitute a religion. Recently mass conversions of people in Agra district of Uttar Pradesh (UP) has raised the social and political temperature. The stupid arguments in favour or against it has not legs to stand upon.
Conversion of people of one faith into other faith in the name of “Ghar Vapasi” is how far relevant and rational when Article 25 of Constitution of India (COI) gives freedom of conscience & free profession, practice and propagation of religion but subject to public order and morality.
Every Indian citizen has a fundamental right to follow any religion of his or her choice. The real issue has erupted is forced conversions, which has no legal sanctity. Why forced conversions take place? Most probably the Social and Economic backwardness is the basis of all conversions. Will it be socially or economically beneficial to those who get converted, either by allurement or otherwise? The prudent answer is certainly a big NO. Therefore, the anti conversion law is the basic need of the hour. Long back ago in 1956 in Madhya Pradesh Justice Niyogi Committee was constituted by the then Congress government, in response to the Bharatiya Jana Sangh’s protest movement, “The Anti-Foreign Missionary Week”. The movement was suspended once the Committee was formed and has given has recommended a uniform law for the country besides other measures to tackle the conversion related problems. Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Stainislaus versus State of M.P. 1977 Cr.L.J 551 while discussing freedom guaranteed under Article 25 of Constitution of India to profess, practice and propagate religion clearly held that the act of religious ‘Practice’ is concerned primarily with religious worship, ritual and observations. Propagation is concerned with the right to communicate beliefs to another person or to expound the tenets of one’s religion, but does not include a right to forcible conversions.
What ever is happening in the name of religious conversion, in any part of the country, should be immediately stopped. Media should raise itself above the political platforms and positively act in educating the masses so that such kind practices can be condemn and halted. In today’s progressive world, Religion should not be allowed to be opium of masses, anymore.