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Religious conversion by coercive or deceptive means amount to injustice, exploitation: Ashwini Upadhyay in additional affidavit

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An additional affidavit filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in the Delhi High Court has said that one cannot remain aloof and become a mute spectator if due to the neglect of the political executive illegal religious conversion takes place for appeasement and vote bank politics.

Upadhyay’s additional affidavit stated that religious conversion by coercive or deceptive means amounts to “injustice and exploitation”.

A bench of Justices Sanjeev Sachdeva and Tushar Rao Gedela will hear the plea by Upadhyay that seeks direction to both the Centre and the Delhi government to prohibit religious conversion.

In his plea he has mentioned that religious conversion is happening by intimidating, threatening, and deceivingly luring people with gifts and monetary benefits.

The petitioner’s affidavit, said the right to religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution is not an absolute right, and so the foreign funded Individuals and NGOs are converting EWS-BPL citizens to foreign religions by intimidating, threatening, deceiving, luring through gifts and monetary benefits.

The affidavit says that the capital has become the safest haven for foreign funded individuals, NGOs who have established their offices in Okhla, Jamia Nagar, Balta House and Kali Bari Marg for the purpose of religious conversion.

“Petitioner submits that this court can’t be a mute spectator if the political executive is not taking steps due to appeasement and vote bank politics,” it said.

The plea also adds that due to the inaction by the Centre and State many mosques and churches have become the epicentre of black magic, superstition and religious hypocrisy and the ultimate purpose is to convert economically weaker scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

The affidavit also adds that many maulvis and pastors are converting poor people by intimidating, threatening, deceiving and luring through gifts and monetary benefits.

An RTI was earlier filed by Upadhyay requesting the Home Ministry to provide information relating to religious conversion in Delhi but no reply has come so far.

Upadhyay said that the police of Delhi is aware of the religious conversion

but generally Delhi Police chose to look the other way.

The High court had earlier said if the government was conscious of the issue of forced religious conversion, it can frame a law and that the court cannot give such a direction to the legislature.

The petition has stated that religious conversion by “the carrot and the stick” and “by hook or crook” not only offends Articles 14, 15, 21, and 25 but is also against the principles of secularism, which is basic structure of the Constitution.

The petition by Ashwin Upadhyay mentions that the Centre and the Delhi government have failed to control the deceitful religious conversion though it’s their duty under Article 51A.

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