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India opposition pressures Modi to clarify stance on forced conversions

Press TV – December 22, 2014

Indian opposition lawmakers have demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarify his position on the alleged ongoing forced conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism.

Enraged lawmakers in the Indian parliament’s upper house on Monday demanded that Premier Modi address reports that groups linked to his ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coerced poor Muslims and Christians into converting to the Hindu religion.

The opposition lawmakers pointed out that Modi’s silence was damaging the religious freedom guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

Political experts say the issue is stoking a sensitive debate that has stalled the parliament and threatened the prime minister’s economic reform agenda.

The developments came after right-wing Hindu groups allied to the ruling BJP held a series of ceremonies to convert Christians and Muslims to Hinduism.

The groups have allegedly bribed some 50 poor Muslim families into converting to Hinduism in the Taj Mahal in the city of Agra. Converts say the families were promised financial incentives and ration cards if they went ahead with the conversions.

The Muslims have been wary of Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP Party, which won a huge majority in general elections in May. Back then, the BJP won 274 seats in the 543-seat lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha.

However, the BJP lacks a majority in the upper house, where Congress and regional lawmakers routinely protest a range of issues.

December 22, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | 1 Comment