After an acrimonious debate, the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly on Thursday passed the controversial anti-conversion bill with 140 members supporting the measure and 73 opposing it.
None remained neutral when the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Bill was put to vote by Speaker K Kalimuthu after the opposition pressed for voting.
BJP voted for the Bill along with the ruling AIADMK, four of the five 'rebel Congress' members staged a
Intervening during the debate on tbe Bill, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said existing laws were not adequate to curb conversions. There had been reports of such conversions from Virdunagar, Ramanathapuram and Theni districts, she
"More recently, there were similar reports from Kancheepuram district," she said.
The chief minister joined issue with leader of the Congress legislature party S R Balasubramanian asking why its governments in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa had not withdrawn similar laws that has been in force since 1968.
Balasubramanian replied that there was no real need for doing so as no action had ever been initiated in either state under the respective laws.
Simultaneously, the house also passed the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Ritual and Practice of Burying
Alive of a Person Bill, 2002, after a brief discussion.
Earlier this year, a festival in Madurai district involving such an act had attracted widespread media coverage and led to Jayalalithaa dropping a minister.
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