Assam Chief Minister Proposes Legislation to Curb Evangelism and Polygamy

Himanta Biswa Sarma aims to maintain religious balance and address fraudulent practices.

Guwahati: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that his government wants to bring a robust legislation to curb evangelism in the state apart from banning polygamy besides a law following the pattern of Uttarakhand’s Uniform Civil Code.

Referring to the Assam Healing (Prevention of Evil) Practices Bill, 2024, approved by the state cabinet on February 10 to address the issue of fraudulent magical healing practices in the name of treatment, Mr Sarma told reporters, “Magical healing is a dicey subject used to convert tribal people. We are going to pilot this Bill because we believe the religious status quo is very important for a proper balance.”

He asserted, “Whoever is Muslim, should remain Muslim, whoever is Christian, should remain Christian and whoever is Hindu, let them remain Hindu so that a proper balance can be achieved in our state. We want to curb evangelism in Assam and this Bill will be a very important milestone.”

The chief minister said that the state government was pursuing legislation against polygamy, a move inspired from the UCC announced by the Uttarakhand government. “The UCC is only about banning polygamy and making it a civil offence. We are thinking of making polygamy a criminal offence. Our expert committee will work on aligning it (anti-polygamy) with the UCC,” he said.

He said that an expert committee will look into the possible ways to align polygamy and UCC in the same legislation.

It is significant that a radical Hindu group named Kutumba Surakshya Parishad has asked church-run schools in Assam to remove all Christian symbols that it claimed are used subtly to influence students for conversion.

The group set a 15-day deadline for missionary schools from February 7 to remove the idols and photographs of Jesus and Mary apart from churches located within their compounds. It also asked priests, nuns, and brothers to stop wearing their religious attire within the school premises.

“Christian missionaries are converting schools and educational institutes into religious institutes. We will not allow it,” the group’s president, Satya Ranjan Borah said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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