The Chhattisgarh government is all set to stringently enforce the provisions of the already existing law on conversion in the State of Chhattisgarh. If reports are to be believed, the government may increase the duration of the punishment for promoting illegal conversion to 10 years.
The development occurred in the wake of an ongoing debate over illegal conversion under the guise of providing education and healthcare facilities in the remote regions of the State.
Taking to X, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit of Chhattisgarh State on Tuesday, January 30, informed that preparations are underway to stringently enact the already existing law on conversion and that the incumbent government may adopt measures to increase the duration of the punishment for the said offence.
“Those who carried out conversion will get strict punishment in Chhattisgarh; the Sai government is tough on conversion; 10 years’ jail term for those who promote conversion; the government is preparing to stringent the provisions,” read a poster shared by the State unit of the BJP.
छत्तीसगढ़ में अब धर्मांतरण कराने वालों को मिलेगी कठोर सजा pic.twitter.com/r8KEbDMos1
— BJP Chhattisgarh (@BJP4CGState) January 30, 2024
It is to be noted that earlier Chief Minister (CM) Vishnu Deo Sai, while launching a vicious attack on the mission-backed conversion on Sunday, January 28, said that the missionaries are in a dominant position in Chhattisgarh and large-scale conversions are promoted by them.
Missionaries are in dominance; they are a dominant force in education and healthcare, and their ramifications are that they promote conversion under the pretext of providing health and education facilities. It will be stopped, and Hindutva will get new power, said CM Sai while addressing a gathering in a private ceremony in Chhattisgarh’s capital, Raipur.
The remarks of the CM come days after he, while addressing another gathering at Gudiyari of Raipur, said that rampage conversion has taken place in Chhattisgarh, which also holds the second largest Church in Asia and it was only due to efforts of former union minister Dilip Singh Judev that his hometown, Jashpur, was saved from rampage conversion.
Meanwhile, reacting to the CM’s remarks, Arun Pannalal, head of the Christian Society Chhattisgarh, while speaking to the media, said that the CM has said that he will provide education and healthcare facilities in the regions deprived of it, we are happy with it. As far as conversion is concerned, it will continue as long as the constitution exists; it’s not a crime.
It is pertinent to mention here that earlier, while speaking to the media, during his maiden visit to Delhi after taking oath as the first Janjati (tribal) CM of the state, Sai also remarked that “rampant conversion took place under the previous government where action used to be taken against the complainant itself.”
“I can clearly say that the Congress kept encouraging conversion to expand their vote bank, as those who get converted usually distance themselves from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But now we will make sure that no such activities will take place and conversion will be stopped,” added CM Sai.
Meanwhile, reacting to the debate over illegal conversion, senior BJP leader Prabal Pratap Judev had also demanded action on the pending cases pertaining to conversion in the State
Government and non-government apparatus indulged in cow-smuggling and ‘Ganja’ smuggling in the state should be enquired about, and speedy justice should be served into cases registered under section 170 (b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), remarked the BJP leader, who has been witnessed leading a number of Gharwapsi ceremonies organised in the State lately.
Further, while emphasising the need for a tighter law on conversion, the BJP leader from Vanvasi-dominated Jashpur said that “those who have converted should be deprived of reservation benefits, and a stringent law should be enacted to deal with the cases of illegal conversion.”
It is to be noted that earlier, the deputy CM of the State, Arun Sao, also hinted that the incumbent government is mulling over a permanent solution to the conversion issue under the constitutional framework.