Will oppose U.P. Bill on conversions: Akhilesh Yadav

The State Cabinet earlier this week gave the nod to the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday said his party will oppose the State government’s Bill on religious conversions when placed in the Assembly for passage.

The State Cabinet earlier this week gave the nod to the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, to curb forcible or dishonest religious conversions including those for the sake of marriage, which could land violators in jail for up to 10 years.

Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel gave assent to the ordinance on Saturday. Now, it will be presented in the State legislature for passage. Commenting on it, Mr. Yadav told reporters, “The Samajwadi Party is not in favour of any such law. We will oppose it (when it comes to the Assembly)”. He also sought to know its relevance when the State has schemes to encourage inter-caste and inter-faith marriages.

The Government does not want to debate on more important issues due to which it brought the ordinance, he said, alleging that it is creating hatred and chasm in society.

The SP president also extended support to the farmers’ protest against the Centre’s farm laws.

“The betterment of farmers cannot be ensured through laws. It will happen only when the government comes forward and provides them with the right price of their produce,” he said.

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“No other government has committed as many atrocities on farmers as this government is doing. This treatment is being meted out by those who had promised to double their income,” Mr. Yadav alleged.

He also asked when the Centre is going to bring a law to double farmers’ income and provide employment to the youth.

Questioning investment claims of the U.P. government, he said it should also tell how it has fared in corruption and fake encounters. Fake cases are being lodged against political leaders, he alleged.

To a question on corruption charges against his party leader Azam Khan, Mr. Yadav said he has been targeted as he had done some good work.

“Only time will tell about the corruption and loot taking place under the BJP rule,” he said.

The former Chief Minister once again said the BJP government is copying the schemes and programmes of the previous SP regime led by him and hoped that people will give his party another chance in the 2022 Assembly elections.

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