About one year back, when Rajasthan Assembly passed the Freedom of Religion Bill 2006, the BJP government did not had the slightest apprehension that Governor, Smt Pritabha Patil, would not give her assent to it. Because the Bill was on the lines of similar Bills passed in various other states like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The provisions in the Bill were also almost identical to the provisions in these states.
But when, even after a year, Smt Patil did not gave her assent to the Bill, several nationalist organisations, led by Vishwa Hindu Parishad, decided to launch a statewide agitation for the removal of the Governor. Under the constitutional provisions, there is no time frame for the Governor to give assent to the Bills passed by the Assembly. This Bill had been passed in April last year.
?After waiting for almost one year, we have now decided to take the issue to the masses and to build a pressure on the Governor to approve the Bill,? said Shri Jugal Kishore of VHP. He is of the view that unless this law comes into force, the activities of Christian missionaries could not be curbed. These elements are offering all kinds of bribes and favours to lure the innocent Vanvasis and the weaker sections to Christianity.
In fact, two recent incidents prompted the Hindu organisations to press upon the Bill. Last month, two missionaries were arrested in Sri Ganganagar. The alert local people timely came to know about their plan to convert some people in a locality. They were handed over to the police, which registered cases against them and put behind the bars. Another incident took place at village Nakachpur in Alwar district. In this case, some Muslim elements tried to convert a Hindu family by force. This Jatav family of eight, which work as labourer in the fields, was confided by these elements for several days. They organised a ceremony to formally covert them into Islam. But the police got wind of the ceremony and arrested Niyamat Khan and some others while trying to convert the family to Islam by force.
?Both these incidents could have checked if anti-conversion law had come into force,? Shri Kishore said. The Congress party, during the debate in the assembly, had opposed the Bill. It is alleged that those Congress leaders were acting on the behest of some Christian organisations, which were making all out efforts to prevent the passing of the Bill. On the day, when Bill was scheduled for discussion in the House, same Christian organisations held demonstration before the Assembly.
When the Bill was sent to Governor for approval, a delegation of Congress leaders and Christian organisations handed over her a memorandum urging not to give approval. They had objection to one of the particular provisions of the Bill, which says those converts, who want to come back to the religion of their ancestors, would not come under conversion. They say, this would help only to the Hindu organisations who are engaged in re-conversion.