Gujarat caretaker Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that if his Bharatiya Janata Party is voted back to power in the assembly election scheduled for December 12, he would enact a law to prevent forcible religious conversions in the state.
Modi was addressing the media after releasing the party's 15-page manifesto titled BJP: Saviour of five crore Gujaratis.
Modi said this [proposed law against forcible conversions] was to prevent change of religion by people "out of fear, greed and lust". "We will study the law already in force in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Prasdesh and Andhra Pradesh and bring the anti-conversion law to stop forcible conversion for fear, lust and greed. It is because of these factors that people are forced to change their religion," he said.
Completely skirting Godhra and the subsequent communal riots, the BJP manifesto pledged to fight terrorism in Gujarat by launching an anti-terrorist movement training youth, and creating a new state commando force to counter terrorism.
The manifesto called the proposed anti-terrorist training programme Sudarshan Suraksha Kavach.
The programme also aims at issuing identity cards to border-area residents, while training them in the use of weapons and giving license for arms.
"Several elements with vested interests are trying to portray that situation in Gujarat is similar to that in Jammu and Kashmir. Pak-sponsored terrorism was quelled from Punjab and after failing in Kashmir, they are now targeting Gujarat. But they will never succeed in their nefarious designs," he said.
The BJP also intends modernisation of police force and making intelligence agencies more effective and professional by providing state-of-the-art electronic devices to gather information about movement of terrorists, anti-social and anti-national elements, Modi said.
After an audio-visual presentation, former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, state BJP president Rajendra Singh Rana and Modi emphasised that the manifesto laid stress on security and development that would take the state into 21st century.
When a reporter asked about the absence of Godhra in the document, an angry Modi shot back: "No political party pledges to enact riots in a manifesto. There is only a resolve to give security. It is unfortunate that the riots have not gone away from the minds of some people who are interested in keeping Gujarat aflame. We will not allow that. I have come prepared against such questions."
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