Gujarati government defines Jainism and Buddhism as sects of Hinduism

Gujarat Global News Network, Sept 19, 2006

Ahmedabad, Gujarat (India) -- Amidst protests from Congress State Assembly today passed a Bill to give freedom to a person to change sect of his religion. The amendment clarifies that this does not constitute change in religion in the definition of act regulating religious conversions.

Minister of State for Home Amit Shah said that no one can be given permission to force someone to change his religion. He said that the Bill gives internal freedom to a person.

Explaining this he said that Jainism and Buddhism are sects of Hinduism and so anyone adopting any of these faiths will be free to do so. Similarly, he said Shiya and Sunni will have freedom of interchange and so catholic and protestants.

He said that this clarity on sub sects was necessary to make the definition of religious conversion more clear and precise.

Opposing the move leader of opposition Arjun Modhwadia said that the Bill was a very divisive move and it was against the spirit of article 25 of the Constitution of India. He further claimed that it was not consistent with various Supreme Court rulings in such matters.