The recently appointed Union Minister of State for Animal Husbandry Pratap Chandra Sarangi, an MP from Odisha, has said religious conversion through force or fraud is like asking for sex in exchange for a favour.

In an interview with The Print, Sarangi was asked about his views on religious conversion. He answered, “Suppose somebody helped a girl in medical or education and wanted to enjoy the girl physically, that will be treated as a crime, an inhuman act,” and went on to compare religious conversion to such a transaction.

He added that he opposes conversions as they are against the law under the Freedom of Religion Act, 1967 and claimed they lead to “anti-national activities.”

Previously the state convener of the Bajrang Dal in Odisha, Sarangi is known for his pro-Hindutva stance. He also denied supporting Dara Singh, a man with links to the Bajrang Dal, who was convicted of murdering Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons in 1999.

Sarangi has been arrested in the past on charges that included rioting, arson and assault after the Odisha state assembly was attacked by right wing groups, including the Bajrang Dal, in 2002.