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Himachal enforces anti-conversion law
("CNN-IBN," February 22, 2007)

New Delhi, India - An anti-conversion law has come into force in Himachal Pradesh with Governor V S Kokje giving his assent to it. It has become the first Congress-ruled state to adopt legislation banning illegal religious conversions.

Himachal Pradesh is a Hindu state with more than 90 per cent Hindu population. It is the first Congress ruled state to pass an anti-conversion Bill.

Ironically, it was the Congress which had made a huge hue and cry when Gujarat and Tamil Nadu tried to pass a Bill banning conversion.

The legislation was passed by the state Assembly in its Winter Session in December, Raj Bhawan sources were quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

During the session at Dharamsala, the BJP had obtained a commitment from Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for a law to stop conversions in the state.

Under the legislation, anybody willing to convert from one religion to another will have to give a month's notice to the district magistrate, who after an inquiry, can grant permission to do so.

The population of Christians in Himachal Pradesh is not more than 10,000, but the BJP and Hindu organisations have from time to time complained about conversions by missionary groups.


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