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2002: Indian Muslim Statements
For Latest Indian Muslim Statements click here
Indian Muslim Statements during 2001 click here
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ALL INDIA MUSLIM MAJLIS-e-MUSHAWARAT  

Tamil Nadu Ordinance to Curb Conversion Violates Constitution and Human Rights

AIMMM Appeals to Secular Parties, Religious Organizations and Human Rights NGOs to Oppose it Politically and Judicially


New Delhi, 7 October, 2002
: Shri Syed Shahabuddin, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), has issued the following Statement:

"The AIMMM condemns the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Forcible Conversion Ordinance, 2002 promulgated by the Governor of Tamil Nadu on 5 October, 2002 as a serious infringement of the Freedom of Religion and of Conscience, enshrined in the Constitution as a part of its basic structure.

The Constitution grants anyone not only the right freely to profess and practise a religion of one's choice but also to propagate it. Propagation of religion by one person opens the possibility of voluntary change of faith by another person from the religion in which he is born to another of his choice. There is no reason for the State to interfere in the process of change of religion. Change of faith is not a criminal act but a human and constitutional right. The Ordinance is, therefore, ill-conceived and unconstitutional.

The State can, and should, entertain any complaint by a person that he is being coerced or pressurized by another person, in his individual or organizational capacity, to change his faith. But there is no reason for the State machinery go into motion without any such complaint. It is obvious that the purpose is to curb the freedom of those who are dissatisfied, for one reason and the other, with the religion or the religious community they were born in.

The Indian State is a secular state and as such it should have no stake in the rise or fall in the number of adherents of one religion or the other. But the Hindutva brigade, which Ms. Jayalalitha has joined for political reasons, thinks that India is the land of the Hindus and that a Hindu by birth has no right to change his religion while non-Hindus can and should be 'reconverted' to Hinduism.

The AIMMM notes that apparently the threat of withdrawal of reservation in legislature and public employment has not succeeded in stopping the drift of the S.C.'s from Hinduism to other religions, particularly in Tamil Nadu.

But it is convinced that this additional administrative and legal restriction will also fail to curb man's eternal quest of Freedom and Dignity.

The AIMMM appeals to the Government of Tamil Nadu to withdraw the Ordinance or let it lapse and calls upon all secular parties, religious organizations and NGOs in the field of Human Rights to oppose the Ordinance and seek its judicial/political nullification."

Sd/- Syed Shahabuddin
ALL INDIA MUSLIM MAJLIS-e-MUSHAWARAT
N-44, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi - 110 025 Phone: 632 6780 Fax: 632 7346
  Email: muslim@del3.vsnl.net.in q

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