Gandhinagar: As many as 453 people in Gujarat, including 404 Hindus and 35 Muslims, sought the State government’s permission to change their religion in the last two years, and of them, 171 were given the go-ahead, the Assembly was informed today.
Those seeking nod for religious conversion hailed from 26 of the 33 districts of Gujarat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told the House.
The Budget session of the Gujarat Assembly is currently underway. It started on February 20 and would continue till March end.
Rupani, who also handles the home department, said 453 people from different faiths had applied for religious conversion in two years, till 31 December 2017.
Of these, the department gave its consent to 171 applicants of different religions during the period, he replied during the Question Hour.
The Chief Minister was replying to a set of questions raised by Congress MLAs, who sought details of applications received by the department from citizens, who wish to embrace another religion in the last two years.
According to the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, which came into force in 2008, if anyone wants to convert to another religion, he/she has to take permission from government authorities. The law was implemented to curb forced conversions.
Of the 453 applications, the highest number, 404, were received from Hindus followed by Muslims (35), Christians (11), Jains (2) and Sikhs (1), he said.
No one from Parsi or Buddhist community applied for conversion during the period, Rupani said.
Among the Hindus who applied for permission to convert to another religion, the highest number of applications were received from Banaskantha district (193), followed by Surendranagar (54) and Junagadh (26).
Notably, several Dalits of Banaskantha had announced to embrace Buddhism in December 2016 as a mark of protest against the flogging of some members of their community in Una in July that year.