By Nishant Ketu
New Delhi [India], December 30(ANI): There is a need for strict and permanent legislation against forced or fraudulent conversion, and love jihad, said Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel on Tuesday.
Talking to ANI about Dharma Swatantrata (Religious Freedom) Ordinance, 2020, a law against love Jihad, approved by Madhya Pradesh Cabinet on Tuesday, Patel said the BJP-led union government has been saying from the beginning that conspiracy to convert by delusion, fear, greed, and cheating should be permanently banned.
"There is a consensus. When things are not resolved through dialogue, it is natural that law will have to be made. The discussion has been going on for decades. Since independence, there has been a continuous debate in society about conversion. I understand that if people are asked, they too will favour this law," he said.
When asked about opposition's allegations about targeting a community through the law, Patel said his party has not coined the word 'love-Jihad'.
"When these things begin, there is fear in the minds of those who do. I think there should be fear. If you do it fraudulently, if you do it under some conspiracy, then you should be scared," he stated.
Notably, in Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Ordinance-2020, there is a provision of 10 years punishment and Rs 1 lakh fine for fraudulently or forcibly converting religion or committing love jihad. Prior to Madhya Pradesh, many other BJP-ruled states have approved such laws, with constant criticism from opposition parties.
Patel also spoke on the allegation made by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the Bharatiya Janata Party, in which she said that the BJP was trying to ruin the culture of the state.
"First of all, there is no rule of law in Bengal. Democratic values are not there, this is clearly visible. Secondly, when she talks about culture, what is her culture -- Raja Rammohan Roy, Maharishi Aravind, Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Khudiram Bose? What culture is she talking about? She did not go to Vishwabharati University after the invitation of the Prime Minister, then, it is to destroy the relations between the state and the Centre. Who will trust Mamata Banerjee's words? Public opinion is against her, she should accept it. I believe that Bengal should have a cultural identity. But, there is nothing but fear and violence," he added. (ANI)