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Rajnath concerned over conversions in Punjab

Singh cautioned that if "the practice continues Punjab may lose its identity."

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 18:11 IST

BJP President Rajnath Singh on Friday expressed concern over alleged religious conversions in Punjab at the behest of some "foreign" elements and said the practice must stop if the state was to keep its identity intact.

"Religious conversion practice is still prevalent in Punjab and this pains me," Singh said addressing a gathering in Tarn Taran to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of fifth Sikh Guru, Arjan Dev.

"On one hand, we have the greatest example of sacrifice in history, that of Guru Arjan Dev, but on the other we hear about these conversions made at the behest of foreign elements," he said.

Singh cautioned that if "the practice continues Punjab may lose its identity."

Asking the people to take a pledge that they will not convert no matter what the provocation or hardship, Singh said they should take inspiration from the sacrifices made by Sikh Gurus, who preferred death to changing their faith.

The BJP leader also highlighted the plight of farmers, saying the country could not develop in real sense till the condition of peasantry improves.

Criticising the Centre's decision to import wheat, he said on one hand it was paying only Rs 650 per quintal MSP to its own farmers, but on the other was ready to shell out anything between Rs 900-Rs 1000 per quintal for Australian wheat.

Singh also attacked the Congress-led UPA government for failing to control prices of essential commodities and gave credit to the previous NDA regime for keeping prices of essential commodities under check.

First Published: Jun 16, 2006 18:11 IST