2 Jul 2024

Allahabad High Court Calls for Halt to Religious Gatherings Facilitating Conversions, See Details

Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court has declared that religious congregations where conversions occur must be halted, warning that the country's majority population could become a minority if such gatherings continue.

This ruling emerged during the court's hearing of a bail petition for Kailash, accused of taking individuals from Hamirpur, Uttar Pradesh, to a conversion gathering in Delhi.

According to the court order, the FIR states that Kailash transported Ramkali Prajapati's brother, Ramphal, to Delhi, from where he never returned. The FIR further details that Ramphal, who had been suffering from mental illness, was promised treatment at the Delhi gathering and a return home within a week. When Ramphal did not come back, Ramkali inquired with Kailash but received unsatisfactory responses.

The FIR also mentions that numerous people from Hamirpur village were taken to the Delhi gathering and converted to Christianity. Kailash faces charges of kidnapping and violations under the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021.

Large numbers of people were being converted at these gatherings: Addl AG

Additional Advocate General PK Giri, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, informed the court that large numbers of people were being converted to Christianity at these gatherings. He cited witness statements indicating that Kailash had been transporting villagers for conversion in exchange for payment.

However, Kailash's counsel, Saket Jaiswal, argued that Ramphal was not converted to Christianity but merely attended a Christian gathering. He pointed out that Sonu Pastor, who organized the gathering, had already been granted bail.

Justice Rohit Ranjan Agarwal, in his ruling, referred to Article 25 of the Constitution, which provides for freedom of conscience and the free profession, practice, and propagation of religion, but does not explicitly allow conversion from one faith to another.

"The word 'propagation' means to promote, but it does not imply the conversion of a person from one religion to another," the order stated.

The court highlighted that Ramphal never returned to his village and noted several witness accusations against Kailash for facilitating conversions.

Majority population of this country could become a minority one day: Court

"If this process is permitted, the majority population of this country could become a minority one day. Religious congregations resulting in conversions must be immediately stopped," the court asserted while denying bail to Kailash.

The court also observed a troubling pattern of unlawful conversions across Uttar Pradesh, particularly targeting individuals from SC/ST and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and emphasized the need for stringent action to prevent such activities.

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