NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013

NEW - Vedic/Hindu Calendar for 2013
Shri Ramapir Mandir/Temple in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Conversion Has No Justification, Says Indian Supreme Court

By Siddharth Sharma (PHP Delhi)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
NEW DELHI, INDIA, January 22, 2011: The Supreme Court on Friday held that conversion from one religion to another had no justification in "secular" India as it amounted to interference in religious belief.
"We hope Mahatma Gandhi's vision of religion playing a positive role in bringing religions and communities together into an integrated prosperous nation will be realized. There is no justification for interfering in someone's belief through force, conversion or false premise that one religion is better than the other," the court noted.
It was dealing with an appeal filed by Dara Singh, who was granted life sentence by the Orissa High Court for burning alive Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons 12 years ago, a crime sparked a debate on religious tolerance and respect for all religions. "The intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity," stated the court. It upheld life sentence for Dara Singh, but used the opportunity to issue a devastating critique of conversion attempts.
The Bench felt that conversion violated the secular spirit of the Constitution. It said, "It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone's belief by way of 'use of force', provocation, conversion, incitement, or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other." 
Quoting former President KR Narayanan, who said, "Indian unity is based on a tradition of tolerance, which is at once a pragmatic concept for living together and a philosophical concept of finding truth and goodness in every religion" -- the judgement hinged hope on the vision of Mahatma Gandhi for co-existence of religions as a "positive factor" to realise "equal respect for all religions".
[HPI note: It is essential to understand that in this context the Supreme Court uses the word "conversion" to name insidious, sly, dishonest and divisive practices that have nothing to do with a voluntary change of religious belief based on self-inquiry and newfound conviction. This ruling could be quite consequential (and good for Hinduism) as the press release below points out.]

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