After erroneously casting aside Article 370, the incumbent government may introduce Anti-Conversion bill in the next session of the Parliament. The Bill, if passed, would torpedo the secular ethos enshrined in our Constitution by meddling with an individual’s choice of faith. Article 25 of the Constitution bestows upon citizens of India the “freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health.”
Few states like Odhisha and Madhya Pradesh have banned forced conversions, and conversions by means of fraud and allurement. However, like many other vaguely defined legal terms, these laws have been systematically used to repress Dalits and minority communities. Likewise, I strongly feel the intended imposition of a country-wide Anti-Conversion Law would not only curb citizens’ freedom to choose a new faith, but also make the weak vulnerable to harassment and exploitation under the garb of ‘law’.
With a sweeping majority in Lok Sabha and a weak Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the Modi-government can easily ensure that the bill sails through and lands on the President’s table.
It’s 2019 and India has a burgeoning young population facing the highest unemployment rate in the last 45 years, the economy is in a state of decline, climate-induced calamities are wiping out settlements and thousands have been rendered homeless. But the saffron wave that has engulfed the nation is adroitly banking on the adrenaline rush of its followers, who absolutely lack any sense of rationality or logic.
If we continue to let the parasite of religious fundamentalism feast on the trappings of democracy, freedom of choice and liberty will soon become a thing of the past. The country is headed to a dark abyss, it’s about time we opened our eyes and raised our voices against the brazen violation of our secular and constitutional ethos that we so exultantly flaunt to the world.