Describing both religious conversions and re-conversions as “bad”, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday that conversions are happening in India over the past 200 years and foreign money is being spent on such activities.
Presiding over a plenary session on “Opportunities in India” at the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at Gandhinagar, Naidu said:”India is a free country… It is not that conversions are happening just during the reign of this government. Conversions and re-conversions have been happening in India since the last 200 years. A lot of foreign money is being spent on conversions and it is an open secret.”
While describing the NDA government’s stance on this issue, he said: “We are neither right nor left; we are straight”. He added that he was forced to clarify on this issue as “some people” and “few English newspapers” were creating controversy over the issue.
“Unnecessary controversies are being raised about conversions…The (Modi) government is not involved in this. We do not support any religion.The government has no religion. It is the people who have religion and we respect people’s faith,” he said, addressing NRIs who had gathered in large numbers at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
Naidu also said that Hindutva was not connected to any religion. “We will not support anti-conversion, re-conversion or conversion. The government will go for an (anti-conversion) law, provided there is a consensus from all political parties.”