Attacking the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress Government in Chhattisgarh on the issue of religious conversion, Union Minister and senior BJP leader Giriraj Singh on June 8 said that if voted to power, the BJP would make a law against conversions.
Speaking to journalists in Jagdalpur, he alleged that Mr. Baghel wanted to please his political bosses by giving a free run to those indulging in conversions.
“This won’t work. In the coming days [Assembly elections are due later this year], if we are voted in, we will make a law against conversions. This government is going to go and it is hinging on deceit and weakening the country,” said Mr. Singh.
Questions BJP record
Hitting back at these allegations, Mr. Baghel reminded Mr. Singh that there already was a law against religious conversions in the State, while questioning the BJP’s own record during its three consecutive stints in power.
“There is a law against religious conversion since Madhya Pradesh days and we adopted it as it is in 2000. As far as conversions are concerned, we are taking action whenever there is a complaint. There are some fake complaints too but action is taken in the genuine ones,” he said.
The issue of religious conversion has been a hot topic in the State, especially in the tribal belts of Bastar since late last year when tribals were attacked in a village and a church was also attacked in the beginning of this year. Some BJP leaders were also named in the church attack case.
Mr. Baghel added that Mr. Singh might have come to Chhattisgarh earlier too when the BJP was in power and the number of churches that came up during those days had not been built in any period before or since.
“Whenever I ask the question [about number of churches], the BJP doesn’t have an answer,” Mr. Baghel said.
It is noteworthy that the residual State of Madhya Pradesh amended its conversion law under the BJP Government in 2021 to add some more stringent provision and is commonly known as the love jihad law.