Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday advocated in favour of an anti-conversion at an election rally in Punjab’s Jalandhar city, reported ANI.
“A law should definitely be made against religious conversions but nobody should be wrongly harassed through this,” he said. “Conversions done by scaring them [the people] is wrong.”
The Aam Aadmi Party national convener said that religion was a personal matter and everybody had the right to worship according to their choice, reported India Today.
Several Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states, like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, have already enacted anti-conversion laws. Other states such as Haryana and Assam are also mulling such laws.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Kejriwal also promised that if voted to power in Punjab, his party would begin doorstep delivery service and Mohalla clinics.
The 117 seats of the Punjab Assembly will go to polls in a single phase on February 20. The results will be announced on March 10. The state will see a multi-cornered fights as the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Akalis are in the fray.
The Aam Aadmi Party has announced state party chief Bhagwat Mann as the chief ministerial candidate for the polls.
Several states have passed laws against religious conversion under the fig leaf of “love jihad”.
“Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory espoused by Hindutva activists, who allege that Hindu women are forcibly converted by Muslims through marriage.
However, the BJP-led central government had itself told the Lok Sabha in 2019 that no “case of ‘love jihad’ had been reported by any of the central agencies”. The National Commission for Women also does not maintain any data about “love jihad”.
Hindu supremacists have also attacked Christians over allegations of forced conversions.
On December 29, a group of Hindutva supremacists had attacked members of a Dalit family in Tukkanatti village of Karnataka’s Belagavi district, accusing them of converting their neighbours to Christianity.
A video that was widely shared on social media last month showed a group of women in a Dalit home fending off Hindutva supremacists in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district. The women had questioned the men who reportedly barged into the home and tried to stop the Christmas celebrations.
In many cases, police have not been able to show evidence against people booked under the anti-conversion laws. In August, the Gujarat High Court had even ordered a stay on several sections of the state’s law, including one that defined interfaith marriage as a reason for forceful conversion.