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Sangh forced govt hand!

india Updated: Jul 26, 2006 13:09 IST

What was the earlier law on conversion in Madhya Pradesh? When was it passed? In the mid-50s, then chief minister of Central Province and Brar Pandit Ravishankar Shukla appointed Bhawani Shankar Niyogi commission to go through reports of conversion in the state. The commission recommended a law to check it. An Act was adopted in 1968 — Freedom of Religion Act.

Why was the need felt for an amendment now? The existing Act does not make it mandatory for a priest or a person changing his religion to inform the government in advance — and so it can't prevent conversion.
How will that change if the draft bill becomes law?

Individuals intending to convert to a religion as well as the priest conducting the ceremony have to inform the district magistrate of the name and address of the converted along with the date and venue of the ceremony a month in advance.
Why did the Shivraj Chouhan government choose to act now?

The chief minister was under pressure from the Sangh Parivar to act against Christian missionaries in the wake of " reports of conversion".

What does it portend?
Christians apprehend more harassment by the Sangh Parivar, with the bill providing for imprisonment to priests.
What option does the governor have?

He may return it as the Congress has demanded or refer to the President or keep it with him and linger.