Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism separate from Hinduism; Gujarat govt asks Hindus to seek permission to convert

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In a April 8 circular, the Gujarat government said it considers Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism “a separate religion” from Hinduism and has asked Hindu’s seeking to convert to any these three to seek permission of the concerned district magistrate under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003.

Gujarat Home department issued the circular, signed by its Deputy Secretary Vijay Badheka, after it found that applications seeking conversion to Buddhism were not being dealt with as per the rules.

Several Dalit Hindus in Gujarat convert to Buddhism at mass events every year.

According to the circular, the Home Ministry noticed that district magistrate offices are “arbitrarily interpreting” the Gujarat’s Religion Act.

“…it has come to notice that in applications seeking permission for conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism, procedure as per rules are not being followed. Moreover, sometimes, representations are being received from applicants and autonomous bodies that for religious conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism, prior permission is not required,” the circular read. 

 

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Published: 11 Apr 2024, 03:42 PM IST

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