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Agra ‘conversion’ is an attack on secularism: Mayawati

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New Delhi: The ‘conversion’ of around 300 Muslims to Hinduism in Agra rocked the Rajya Sabha Wednesday, with BSP chief Mayawati calling it an attack on the country’s secular fabric.

“Our nation is run by a constitution which has secularism as a pillar,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.

“Whichever party is in the government is responsible to take care of the safety of theConversions_Agra_650 life and religious beliefs of people,” she said.

Nearly 300 members of some 60 Muslim families living in a slum on Agra’s outskirts reportedly embraced Hinduism Monday. The Bajrang Dal said it had organised the event.

Mayawati said: “There is a provision that there shall be no forced conversion. We got to know through the media that RSS’ sister organisation Bajrang Dal has forcefully converted Muslims in Agra.

“They (Muslims) were lured. They (Bajrang Dal) took advantage of their poverty to convert them,” alleged the Bahujan Samaj Party leader.

“This issue shall be taken up seriously. Although I know the (central) government will say it is a state subject,” she added.

“If it is not stopped, it will cause communal tension in the whole country. The government must take strict action.”

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government was committed to secular ideals.

“I want to clarify that we are as dedicated to harmony and secularism as anyone else. Secularism is not anyone’s monopoly,” he said.

“As far as this incident is concerned, an FIR has been registered. Naming a particular organisation for political reasons is not right.

“I request (the chair to) expunge the name of the organisations specially the RSS. Whatever action has to be taken has to be taken by the state government,” Naqvi said.

The opposition sought a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said: “The RSS has said that after 90 years they have their government in (Delhi). They say they will covert the nation into a Hindu nation.

“People were misled, the government must make a statement,” he said.

Congress leader Anand Sharma asked Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien to direct the government to elicit the prime minister’s views.

Kurien said: “If you want to raise the issue, there are rules.”

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Rahul Gandhi: Accepting Less Than Scrapping Farm Laws Will Be Deceit To Farmers

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The Congress has stepped up the demand of immediately scrapping the farm laws in the wake of the farmers’ protest in the national capital. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet,”Accepting less than scrapping of three black farm laws will be deceit to farmers and the country.”

The Congress leader’s reaction comes even as the meeting between the farmers and the government is going on to resolve the issue.

Talks between the Centre and over 34 farmer union representatives has started here, even as the farmers protest entered the eighth straight day with thousands sitting on different Delhi borders blocking essential supply chains to the city.

Like the previous round of talks held on December 1, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal are leading the meeting, which is expected to play a major role in farmers’ future course of action on whether they would continue the protest or withdraw it.

The Bharatiya Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Sanyukta Morcha and Krantikari Kisan Union are among over the 34 farm union representatives taking part in the meeting, which started around 12.30 p.m.

The fourth round of meetings with the farmer leaders started at Vigyan Bhawan after the earlier talks remained inconclusive on December 1.

In the last meeting, the farmers’ representatives had unanimously rejected the Centre’s proposal of a special committee to resolve concerns over the farm laws.

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