Bhopal: The false cases filed by the previous BJP government in Madhya Pradesh against Muslims and Christians in charge of religious conversions will be withdrawn, said the Madhya Pradesh Law Minister PC Sharma on Tuesday.
“We will review only false cases of conversion and cases in which Christian and Muslim community members were booked for taking part in protests," said Sharma.
He further said that the process is meant for all, and includes Congress workers, farmers, Muslims and Christians. We will review only false cases of forced conversion.
The Congress government’s new move has stirred a major controversy in the state. The BJP has dubbed it “politics of appeasement”, and a bid to promote conversions in the state
The Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath government has already announced amnesty in “politically-motivated cases” filed in the BJP rule against political workers and activists, and cases filed against farmers during kisan agitations including the cases filed against members of Dalit community during April 2, 2018 Bharat Bandh which followed the Supreme Court ruling on SC/ST atrocities act 1989.
The development came a day after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) warned of withdrawing its support to the Congress party in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan if Bharat Bandh cases filed against Dalits are not withdrawn.
Also read: History of Attacks on Christians by the Right Wing in India
According to the 2011 Census, Muslims constitute 6.6 per cent of MP’s population and Christians 0.3 per cent. Recently, a delegation of National coordinator of Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh, led by Father Anand Muttungal, met Sharma, and demanded withdrawal of 'fake cases of conversions' filed against members of the Christian community in the BJP tenure.
“More than 400 cases were lodged against Christians without any basis. We met the law minister and submitted that the BJP-led government in Madhya Pradesh had persecuted Christians in the name of conversion to take revenge because they believe that Christians are supporters of Congress. Of the 264 select cases registered against Christians from 2003 to 2018, not even one has been proved so far,” father Muttungal said.
On Monday, Sharma said that Congress government will withdraw all “politically motivated cases”, irrespective of caste. And the very next day, Sharma announced that cases registered by previous BJP government against Muslims and Christians will also be withdrawn.
The move has miffed the BJP. The party's state spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal alleged that the Congress government’s stand to review and withdraw cases related to conversion is mere vote bank politics, and goes against the Constitution.
“The Congress government’s move will embolden missionaries to engage in conversion. If the Congress government withdraws cases, the BJP will oppose it tooth and nail,’’ he said, adding that even the Father of the Nation [M K Gandhi] was against conversion.
Responding to the BJP’s allegations that the Congress government wants to withdraw all cases of conversion, the minister said the charge was misplaced. He, however, did not elaborate on how the government will decide which conversion case is false and how the cases will be reviewed.
Also read: Roots of Dalit, Adivasi Anger in MP and Rajasthan