Congress wants 2003 law on religious conversion to go

March 11th, 2008 - 6:13 pm ICT by admin  

Ahmedabad, March 11 (IANS) The Congress party Tuesday urged the Gujarat government to take back a 2003 legislation that makes it mandatory to secure the district magistrate’s permission before religious conversions. Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil made the demand after the government announced it was withdrawing the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2006.

Saying this was not enough, Gohil told IANS that the March 2003 legislation needed to be axed. That legislation, he said, prohibits people from choosing a new religion, in violation of constitutional rights.

Anyone who changes his religion without the permission of the district magistrate shall be “punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or both”.

Despite vociferous protests Monday from the opposition, the government has refused to do away with the 2003 legislation.

But it withdrew the 2006 bill that sought to allow conversions from among denominations within the same religion.

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