The Uttar Pradesh Religious Conversion Prohibition Act 2020 passed last year by the Yogi government of Uttar Pradesh is not only anti – minority but also extremely anti-Dalit. This law is not only unconstitutional but also infringes on the fundamental rights of citizens. Although it is designed in the name of stopping the so-called love-jihad, its biggest targets will be Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains as well as Dalits who adopt Buddhism. In fact, this law has been enacted with the aim of giving a realization of the Hindu nation’s concept of Hinduism. After Uttar Pradesh, the BJP governments of Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand have enacted a similar law, and the BJP government of Haryana has also announced to make it. This law already exists in Gujarat but its provisions were not as stringent as these laws are.
Although the stated purpose behind the enactment of this law is to stop marriages of Hindu women with Muslim men by getting converted, but in reality, its purpose is to stop all kinds of religious conversions. The purpose of this law is clearly stated that its purpose is to bring conversion under false, forcible, influence, intimidation, greed, conversion in the name of marriage or by fraudulent means under a crime. This makes it clear that the main objective of this law is to stop the conversion of all religions except Hinduism, whereas our history shows that various religions have been coming in our country for centuries and people kept converting. Due to such a legal ban, the development of all religions except Hinduism in the country will be stopped. Its main objective is to establish the country as a Hindu nation and to weaken / limit the remaining religions and bring them under Hindutva which is the declared agenda of the RSS.
It is well known that our country is a secular and democratic nation and in our Constitution all citizens have the right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. Under this right, every person has the right to marry the person of his choice, but the above law prohibits that a non-Hindu cannot marry a Hindu woman if she has been converted to marry. In this way the state infringes on the right to freedom and privacy of the individual. On this case, the Honorable Supreme Court and the High Court have repeatedly said that it is a violation of the citizens right marry anyone and is voidable. But even then, the Yogi government is putting people in jail for inter-religious marriages. This action is completely illegal and is a violation of the fundamental rights of citizens and is a fascist act of the government.
Under Article 25 of the Constitution, every citizen has the right to religious freedom, which includes the right to conscience and freedom to freely observe, conduct and propagate one’s religion. But the present law completely impedes this freedom because no person can convert on his own will without the prior permission of the state. Thus, this law completely abolishes the right of citizens to religious freedom. It is clear from this that the main objective of this law is to establish the Hindu Rashtra by banning the propagation of all religions as is the RSS’s concept of Hindu nation.
If seen, the attacks of Hindus on Muslims and Christians have intensified ever since BJP governments have come to power at the Centre and in states. In the year 2019, there have been highest number of attacks on Christians in Uttar Pradesh in the country. Similarly, persecution of Muslims is also at its peak. The result is that not only Uttar Pradesh but also in other states of the country, these people are not able to carry out their normal religious activities easily. Due to this, conversion of Muslims and Christians has almost stopped. In contrast, the Dalit class has been continuously converting, inspired by Dr. Ambedkar’s Buddhist Dhamma conversion movement, which has resulted in increasing population of Buddhists in India. In the 2011 Census it has grown to 0.7% of the total population of the country. It is also known that for Dalits, Buddhist Dhamma conversion is a movement for their liberation. It is a historical fact that there has been an old conflict between Brahminism and Buddhist Dhamma in India. Babasaheb has called the history of India the history of the struggle of Buddhist Dhamma and Brahminism. He has marked the emergence of Buddhist Dhamma as a revolution and the revival of Brahminism as a counter- revolution.
It is also a fact that if any class is standing firmly against the Hindutva of the RSS in the country, then it is the Dalit class which is equipped with Babasaheb’s concept of establishing a casteless and classless society. Babasaheb had said that this objective can be achieved only through Buddhist Dhamma. Thus, Hindutvaists want to maintain their Brahminical varna system by forcibly hindering the Buddhist Dhamma movement of the Dalit class through such laws. Therefore, the next biggest target of these laws will be the Dalits. In such a situation, Dalits along with other minorities will have to recognize this attack of Hindutva and will have to resist it all. For this, this law will have to be challenged in the High Court as well as to create public opinion against it and also to unite with the secular, democratic and progressive forces to end the political hegemony of the RSS / BJP. If the Dalit class misses it this time, then the repression of Pushyamitra Sung’s era is inevitable.
SR Darapuri, National Spokesperson, All India People’s Front