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BJP, Govt put onus on Oppn for re-conversion law

Chennai/Hyderabad: As a controversy over forced religious conversions by some Sangh Parivar outfits raged, the BJP and the Government today put the onus on the opposition parties for bringing an anticonversion law for which they were ready.

BJP President Amit Shah said government is ready to bring an anticonversion law and dared the "socalled secular" opposition parties to support it while Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the opposition did not respond positively to this offer.

The comments by Shah and Naidu came a day after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat strongly defended the current controversial campaign of the Sangh Parivar and dared the opposition to support a law banning religious conversions.

Shah asserted that such incidents would not derail the BJPled NDA Government from its development agenda.

"BJP has made its stand clear on conversions. And no one can derail the party (government) from its development agenda," he told a press conference in Chennai.

He was replying to a question whether the campaign by some fringe groups on the conversion issue would affect the development agenda of the Narendra Modi Government.

Asked repeatedly about the involvement of RSS in the matter, Shah evaded a direct reply and said, "RSS is a nationalist organisation and I have no doubt over this."

Opposition parties have been seeking to corner the government on the 'ghar wapsi' campaign in parts of North India and stalled proceedings in Rajya Sabha demanding a statement from Modi.

Shah, who is on a twoday visit to Chennai since yesterday, also said BJP's stand on forced conversions was clear and the government was ready to bring a law to ban them.

"BJP is clear about its stand on forced conversions. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu has said in Parliament that the government is ready to bring in a law against forced conversions. Are the so called secular parties ready to support it?" he asked.

Shah declined to comment on Bhagwat's remarks yesterday on trying to create a strong Hindu society.

Asked about Bhagwat's comments in favour of bringing in a law against religious conversion, Naidu said the government would not bring any law against conversion without a larger consensus on it.

"BJP had already announced that it would be right to bring a law against conversion as per the prevailing situation in the country.

"But, that is possible only when there is general consensus. Without consensus, the government would not bring any such law. An advice is given. Everybody has got the right to give advice. There is a right to write. You have the right to make commentary," he told reporters in Hyderabad.

"If you feel the state government's laws are not effective, there is need for an allIndia law, the government has offered on the floor of Parliament, let's go for an allIndia law. The opposition did not respond positively," he said.

Conversions have been happening in the country since preIndependence era, he added.

ndia to seek clarification from UN on reference to Hafiz Saeed

New Delhi: Perturbed over calling 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed as 'sahib' by a US Security Council panel, India will seek a clarification on it from the world body.

It is understood that the government will seek the clarification on the usage in the communication by Gary Quilan, the Chair of UN Security Council Committee, on December 17.

Quinlan made the reference to Saeed in the communication on information regarding banned terror organisation LashkareTaiba and Saeed pursuant to earlier UN resolutions concerning alQaida and associated individuals and entities.

The United Nations had declared JuD a terrorist organisation in December 2008 as also Saeed who was also individually designated by the UN under UNSCR 1267 in December 2008. The resolution entails freezing of funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities and prevent the entry into or transit through their territories by designated individuals.

The United States had slapped a USD 10 million bounty on Saeed, the founder of LeT, and his brotherinlaw in April 2003.

But Saeed roams free in Pakistan and often addresses public rallies in which he routinely makes inflammatory statements.

VHP re-converts 30 SC Christians in 'home coming'

Alappuzha (Ker): Amidst raging controversy over conversion in the country, a batch of 30 persons belonging to eight families of Scheduled Caste Christians were recoverted to Hinduism under the auspices of Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the district today.

The ritual of 'homecoming', organised by district wing of VHP, was held at a local temple at Kanichanallor.

VHP leader Prathap G Padikkal, who arranged the functon, told PTI that the families "expressed their desire to come back to Hinduism" and VHP "only facilitated the return".

He said their ancestors had converted to Christianity some decades ago.

Another 150 families in the district have expressed their wish to embrace Hindusiam and VHP would arrange their 'home coming' also, he said.

ISRO's unmanned crew module reaches Chennai

Chennai: Three days after it was recovered from sea, ISRO's unmanned crew module was today brought to Kamarajar Port at Ennore near here on board a Coast Guard ship.

Coast Guard ship ICGS Samudra Paheredar brought the threetonne weighing crew module to the port and it was later shipped to Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota, some 100 km from here, Coast Guard sources said.

ISRO had earlier said that after being brought to Sriharikota, the module would be taken to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala for further study.

Inching towards realising India's ambition to send humans to space, ISRO had on December 18 successfully tested an unmanned crew module on board an experimental mission of its heaviest rocket GSLV MarkIII that blasted off from Sriharikota.

Around 730 seconds after it lifted off at 9.30 AM from the Second Launch Pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre here, the crew moduleCARE (Crew Module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment)splashed down into the Bay of Bengal, after separating from the LVM3X rocket with active S200 and L110 propulsion stages.

Few hours later, Indian Coast Guard ship recovered the module from the Bay of Bengal off Andaman and Nicobar Islands the same day and proceeded to Chennai.

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