Hindus must get permission from the Collector for religious conversion

Circular of BJP Government in Gujarat

Ahmedabad/Karnavati (Gujarat) – In Gujarat, Dalit Hindus convert to Buddhism on Dasara and other important festivals. Accordingly, the BJP government in Gujarat has issued a circular. It has been said, ‘If one wants to convert from Hinduism to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism or any other religion, then the permission of the District Collector must be taken. It is mandatory per the provisions of ‘the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003’.” The Gujarat government issued this circular on 8th April after realizing that the applications for accepting Buddhism were not processed as per the rules.

The circular said that the Collectorate offices interpret the ‘Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act’ as they see fit. It has been noticed that the applications seeking permission to convert from Hinduism to Buddhism are not processed as expected. It has also been observed that applicants sometimes bring representations from autonomous institutes that prior consent is not required for conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism. But this is not the case. Buddhism is a different religion. To convert to this religion, consent is mandatory.

Buddhism is largely accepted by the citizens of Gujarat. Conversion programs are organized by the organization ‘Gujarat Buddhist Academy’. Secretary of the same academy Ramesh Bankar has welcomed this circular. He said that the law was being misinterpreted till now. Now the government circular has made it clear that Buddhism is a separate religion and unrelated to Hinduism. Some people in the administration had created an atmosphere of confusion. That has been overcome by this circular.