Anti Conversion bill rakes up a new controversy

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Jaipur, Mar 27 (UNI) The new anti conversion bill--the Rajasthan Dharma Swatantrya Bill 2008--passed by the Rajasthan Assembly last week has raked up a new controversy with state Governor Shilendra Kumar Singh, Opposition Congress and several other organisations expressing opinions against the BJP government's move.

Mr Singh, in a media interview yesterday, had expressed his disagreement over the passage of the bill. The Governor said that a similar bill which was passed in the Gujarat Assembly had been withdrawn by the Gujarat government and likewise, he did hope that the Rajasthan government would also withdraw the bill.

Mr Singh felt that ruling BJP state President Om Prakash Mathur who was earlier incharge of Gujarat BJP affairs and reportedly had a role in withdrawal of the bill there, would also inspire his party government in Rajasthan to withdraw the bill.

This was the second occasion when the governor had expressed his views against the bill which was passed in the assembly on March 20.

Earlier, while participating in Easter service at All Saints (Protestants) Church here on Sunday last, Mr Singh had said that social unity, mutual brotherhood and harmony among people of all religions, faiths and communities could be ensured by mutual affection and regard for each other and this could not be achieved through passage of laws and/or bills.

Besides Mr Singh, various organisations have also aired their views against the bill. The Opposition Congress and several other organisations have protested against the Rajasthan overnment's move and met Mr Singh on Tuesday to seek his intervention in the matter.

A delegation of Congress met the governor under the leadership of party state President C P Joshi and submitted a memorandum in protest against the government's move.

Another delegation consisting of Father Raymond Coelho, Chairperson of the Rajasthan Christian Fellowship, Bishop Oswald Lewis, Advocate Ajay Jain, Secretary of the Jamaite-Islami-Hind Nazimuddin, Sawai Singh from Rajasthan Samgra Sewa Sangh, Kavita Srivastava of the PUCL also met the Governor and presented a memorandum.

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