Rajnath Singh red-flags religious conversion, says committed to instilling a sense of security

Rajnath also said that "religious conversion" was unnecessary, and that strong "anti-conversion" measures were required.

By: Express News Service Written by Vijaita Singh | New Delhi | Updated: March 24, 2015 1:33 pm
Rajnath Singh, Islamic State India Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that the central government was committed to instilling a sense of security among religious minorities. He also said that “religious conversion” was unnecessary, and that a strong “anti-conversion” law was needed in the country.

In the face of outrage over the aggressive “ghar wapsi” or ‘re-conversion’ campaign by Sangh Parivar affiliates recently, the BJP has repeatedly pressed for an anti-conversion law. “There is a feeling of insecurity among minorities, and it is necessary that a sense of security should be instilled in them. There are a lot of misconceptions… But the government cannot do everything. On issues like ghar wapsi and religious conversions, the cooperation of society too is required,” Singh told the annual conference of state minorities commissions at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi.

Kya hum sab ko ek doosre pe supremacy ki zaroorat hai? Hum kyon dharm pariwartan karaana chahte hain? Kya hum faisla nahin kar sakte ki insaan ki sewa karna theek hai, par dharm pariwartan kyon karaate hain? Conversion kyon karaaye jaa rahen hain? (Do we need to impose the supremacy of our faith over others? Can’t we decide that serving humanity is fine, but why do people have to be converted to another faith? Why are religious conversions being carried out?)” Singh said, in what appeared to be a reference to Christian missionaries who have faced allegations of converting the poor in the name of serving them.

While stressing that the patriotism of minorities could not be questioned, Singh raised several questions on which he said a national debate was necessary. The Home Minister also raised the issue of fear among certain sections about a possible “demographic change” in the country, and said that the basic character of the nation should not be allowed to change.

“If we go to the US and try to hurt the identity of that country, will they accept it? Why do we want to change their identity? There should not be any such attempt. How can a country like India allow changes in its demographic profile and character? Let India’s character remain the same,” he said.

Singh said that minority communities had felt insecure when the UPA was in power, and it was only the NDA that could bring them confidence. “If anyone can end the sense of insecurity among the minorities, it is the Narendra Modi-led NDA government. We have to turn the sense of insecurity into a sense of security. For a government or a Home Minister, ending insecurity of minorities is the biggest challenge,” he said.

“Why do we fight with each other? It is very unfortunate. A dog bites a dog, but why can’t a human being keep himself away from fighting? Is there any need to establish supremacy over someone else? I believe God is one, and people call Him by different names.

Singh said India was the only country where people of all religions were found. “The Parsi community had to leave their own land Iran. They are living in India in peace, prosperity and with dignity for ages,” he said. “Documentation on Jews has suggested that India is the only country where the community does not face any persecution. The oldest church in the world is in India. It is not in the US or in Europe, it is in Kerala,” he said.

India, Singh said, was the country that respected all religions, and believed in peaceful existence. “Here all 72 sects of Islam live peacefully. Some people may feel alienated. People may feel that proper development of the community is not taking place. For that we have to take appropriate action,” he said.

While stressing that the patriotism of minorities could not be questioned, Singh raised several questions on which he said a national debate was necessary. Soon after his speech, the Home Minister posted on his Twitter handle:

The Minister also said on Twitter that India was a “country which respects all religions and believes in peaceful existence. We have all 72 sects of Islam living here peacefully”. Kerala, he said, “houses one of the oldest churches in the world. No other country in the world is as diverse yet united as India.”

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