Wednesday, June 28, 2006

First define conversion, says minorities panel

NEW DELHI, JUNE 26: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) team that had conducted an on-the-spot assessment of the complaints of atrocities on Christians in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has asked the government to define conversion.

Among the three main points in the report by NCM members Harcharan Singh Josh and Lama Chosphel Zotpa is the need to define conversion. Defining it will get rid of false conversion charges just like that, they say. Says the report "We have been told by many Bishops that only after baptism is performed in a church one person can become a Christian. The same person also has to file an affidavit before the SDM declaring that he/she is changing the religion."

The other two recommendations are that the Union Home Ministry should instruct state governments to deal with atrocities on minorities in a stern manner, and that stringent penal action must be taken against the guilty.

The report also pulled up the BJP and its ideological cousins for raising "frivolous and baseless" charges of conversion being carried out so as to commit atrocities on the minorities. It says the conversion charges are mostly the work of "political parties".

(Indian Express 27/6/06)