New Delhi: The comments of Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of BJP's ideological mentor RSS, calling India a Hindu Rashtra, led to a storm of protests from the Opposition parties on Sunday. (If You Don't Like Conversions, Bring a Law Against It: RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat)
Speaking in Kolkata on Saturday, Mr Bhagwat had said, "This is our own country, our Hindu Rashtra. What we have lost in the past, we will try to bring it back... if you don't want to change into a Hindu, then you should not convert Hindus. If you don't like it, then bring law against it." (Opposition Demands PM Modi's Statement on Conversion)
In the wake of the controversy over the conversions at Agra and elsewhere, and the opposition protests over it, the ruling BJP is considering an anti-conversion law across the country. The BJP contends that conversion is a personal choice, but conversions by force will be actionable under law. The party alleges that the opposition is thwarting the government's efforts to bring in such a bill.
Taking a dig at the saffron group, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh responded on Twitter, "Personally I have no problem with the anti-conversion law, because the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) and Bajrang Dal are doing just that: conversion by force and inducement." (VHP Continues its 'Ghar Wapasi', Converts Over 100 Christians in Gujarat)
The over-50 Muslim families from Agra who had converted to Hinduism earlier this month had alleged that they had been promised ration cards and houses and money for their children's schooling. The issue, and the Opposition protests over it, has caused a logjam in Parliament for almost two weeks. (Truth vs Hype: The Myth of Conversions)
Reiterating the demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi make a statement in Parliament, senior CPI leader and parliamentarian D Raja today said, "India is a democratic republic. It's not a theocratic nation and it cannot be a Hindu Rashtra as claimed by Mohan Bhagwat. It is an affront to the Constitution."
"We have absolute in the Constitution and those who are supposed to uphold it. (But) to bring in an anti-conversion law means you are going against the fundamental provisions of the Constitution. If you ban conversions, then you can't profess or practice religion, which is guaranteed in Section 25 of the Constitution," he told NDTV.
Former I&B minister and Congress leader Manish Tewari said the RSS cannot be permitted to carry out the "Pakistanisation" of India, reported the Press Trust of India. "The reason why the idea of Pakistan has gone belly-up is primarily because of its theological conception," the PTI quoted him as saying.