To this end, the BJP supports the demand for a national anti-conversion law.
At the moment, only five Indian states have such a law, according to which people have to report their intention to convert to district authorities. Evidence of inducement or coercion can result in heavy penalties, even imprisonment.
We tested the claims made by the Sangh about the efficacy of the law in checking conversions in two BJP-run states, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
In Gujarat's Dangs, a tribal-dominated district with a five per cent Christian population, the district Collector has received no applications seeking conversion. Nor has a single complaint been registered under the Act in the district.
The same is the case in Madhya Pradesh's tribal-dominated Jhabua district - no conversions registered, nor any police complaints filed. Officials told NDTV's Siddharth Das that they don't have the manpower to monitor conversions.
Ironically, the poor implementation of the laws allows the Sangh Parivar to carry out its own conversions - what they call Ghar Wapasi or homecoming - without informing the administration. In Madhya Pradesh, Khum Singh Maharaj, a functionary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad told NDTV that his group never alerts the district officials of their plans to convert. "If the Collector is not informing us (of the number of Christian conversions) then why should we," said Khum Singh.
Christian organisations have consistently opposed anti-conversion laws, calling them dangerous and motivated.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Mumbai told NDTV, "If you put impossible conditions or very difficult conditions then that is certainly hindering the freedom of religion. That I think is absolutely wrong. It might look okay on paper, its open to abuse, to prevent people from exercising their freedom to choose what they want to choose, that would certainly take India behind."
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