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Forced religious conversion will lead to a difficult situation: SC

Forced religious conversion will lead to a difficult situation: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said forced religious conversion is a very serious issue and if not stopped, it can lead to a very difficult situation. The top court asked the Centre to step in and make sincere efforts to check the practice.

A bench of Justices M R Shah and Hima Kohli asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to reward measures to curb such conversions. The bench asked the Centre to take steps to control fraudulent religious conversion by "intimidation, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits."

The Centre is ordered to file an affidavit on or before November 22 detailing what measures are going to be taken to curb forced religious conversion which is found more in poor and tribal areas.

"This is a very serious matter. Sincere efforts are to be made by the Centre to stop forced conversions. Otherwise, a very difficult situation will come. Tell us what action you propose. You have to step in. It is a very serious issue that affects the security of the nation and freedom of religion and conscience. Therefore, it is better that the Union of India may make their stand clear and file counter on what further steps can be taken to curb such forced conversion," said the bench.

The court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. He said there should be a special law against forced conversions or the Act should be incorporated as an offence in the Indian Penal Code.

Justice Shah said the difficulty with that is who will file a complaint against the practice. Adv Mehta agreed that in many cases the victims would not know they have been the subject matter of a criminal offence. "He would say that he was helped."

Solicitor General added that forced conversions were "rampant" in tribal areas. "Giving of rice, wheat, clothes, etc. can never be a ground for asking a person to change his conscience or bargain on my fundamental right to religion."

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TAGS:supreme courtreligious conversionforced religious conversion
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