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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
India law bans forced conversion
By Narayan Bareth
BBC News, Jaipur

Head shaving as part of religious conversion in Tamil Nadu in 2003
The opposition Congress party fears the law will target minorities
The state legislature in the western Indian state of Rajasthan has approved a law aimed at checking religious conversions in the state.

The law seeks to stop conversions by allurement, greed or pressure.

The opposition Congress party and religious minorities as well as human right groups have opposed the new law.

The law comes at a time when Hindu hardline groups have been accusing a Christian mission in Kota town of carrying out forced conversions.

'Target minorities'

The law provides for a maximum of five years in prison for those found guilty of carrying out forced conversions.

The Congress party has alleged that the legislation will target religious minorities.

They say the law has been brought about by the state's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the behest of the Rashtriya Sawyamsevak Sangh (RSS) - which provides much of the ideological inspiration to the BJP.

Hardline Hindu organisations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have welcomed the move.

Rajasthan has 0.11 % Christians, while Hindus are a majority forming 89% of the state's population.

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