//NGOs appeal Kalam to reject Rajasthan Religious Bill

NGOs appeal Kalam to reject Rajasthan Religious Bill

Jaipur, June 11: Terming the Rajasthan government's anti-conversion bill as 'anti-secularism' and 'anti-religion', several non-governmental organisations, including members of the minority community, today made an appeal to President A P J Abdul Kalam to reject the controversial bill.

The religious bill titled 'Rajasthan Dharma Swatantra', was returned by Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil last month after she expressed her displeasure over the bill, that makes conversion a non-bailable offence.

"We urge the President not to sign the bill which was adopted by the state assembly in April. We think it is against secularism and against all religions," said representatives of People's Union for Civil Liberty at a 'Jan Samvad' programme held here.

NGOs are also planning a long-term agitation against the bill, which the Vasundhra Raje government had decided to amend and re-submit to the Governor after cabinet's approval next week, they said.

Right to Information activist Aruna Roy claimed that the Anti-Conversion Bill infringes upon the liberty and constitutional rights of people.

"I appeal everyone to protest against the bill. It is a politically-motivated weapon to crush the freedom of expression and religion in the society," she said.

NGOs like Rajasthan Christian fellowship, Rajasthan Samgara Seva Sangh, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, Jammat-e-Islami hind and Rajasthan Buddhist Society of India participated in the programme.

They also demanded the state government to lift a ban on books like 'Haqkeekat', 'Gulamgiri', 'Tehrike Millat' among others.