The case of two Muslims arrested in Uttar Pradesh on charges of converting 1,000 people to Islam has reignited controversy in India. The Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, which brings together 13 major Hindu religious groups, announces a summit. It also wants a law prohibiting couples from having more than two children. The bishop of Lucknor Msgr. Mathias: "Fundamental rights that cannot be questioned".
Lucknow (AsiaNews) - The issue of conversions is once again inflaming India. The Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (Abap), a body that brings together the 13 akharas, the Hindu brotherhoods, has announced its intention to soon convene its own summit to decide "the initiatives to be taken against conversions" in the country. The announcement came after the news of the arrest by the Uttar Pradesh police of two Muslims from Delhi, accused of having "organized a racket that converted more than 1,000 people to Islam".
"We have to find a solution to stop these incidents," commented Abap president Narendra Giri. He returned to invoke measures, but he also recognized that it is "those who are treated as outcasts who seek refuge in other religions". "We will ask the Hindus - said the mahant Giri - to overcome the considerations of caste and to relate to everyone with dignity and respect to avoid these circumstances". He added, however, that at the meeting of 13 akharas they will also talk about the "steps to be taken to bring home those who have changed religion".
On June 22, the ABAP expressed itself in favor of the adoption of laws to control population growth. Giri himself writes in a statement that Hindu sages have always maintained that population growth should be controlled. Adding that a law should stipulate that couples, regardless of their religion, cannot have more than two children. In this sense, the legislators of Uttar Pradesh are already preparing a bill for the local government that would limit access to public subsidies to families with no more than two children.
The bishop of Lucknow Gerald J. Mathias expressed concern to AsiaNews about both of these positions: “The Catholic Church has always condemned forced conversions or those obtained by deception. However, we support religious freedom; everyone must be free to profess, practice and testify to their religion. It is a fundamental right which is also recognized by the Indian Constitution. Any law that wants to ban conversions is unacceptable and violates human rights ”.
“As for the decision on the number of children - continues Msgr. Mathias - this is a sacred right of every couple. Nobody, not even a government can interfere by imposing laws that go against this right. Only totalitarian regimes do this. The population explosion is a myth. As Mahathma Gandhi rightly said: on this earth there is enough for everyone's needs, but not for everyone's greed ”.