After throwing the gauntlet at the opposition arguing that it was in favour of anti-conversion laws in all states and at the Centre, the BJP government on Monday went a step further saying it was prepared to ban “forcible religious conversions” as well.
The Congress and several parties in the opposition had rejected the government’s suggestion for a ban on conversions saying voluntary conversions cannot be prohibited. Today, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was ready to impose a total ban on religious conversions or ban forcible conversions.
“There are two options. This must stop…We cannot allow these kinds of incidents to remain. Is the Opposition willing for a total ban on religious conversions or a ban on forcible religious conversions? Let them tell us the option. The government is ready for either of the two options,” he said.
His intervention came after the Opposition demanded a debate on religious conversions which would culminate in a reply by the Prime Minister.
“They are not ready for either of these two options,” Jaitley taunted. Responding, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury said the options have already been decided by the Constitution.
“The Constitution of India gives everybody the right to liberty; they can choose their religious profession or be an atheist. He said choose whether you want a ban on conversion or forcible conversion. That is decided by the Constitution. The issue is what are you doing today?” he said.