Distancing himself from an Assam Police directive asking districts to carry out a survey on churches, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has asked the DGP to inquire why such a letter was issued and immediately take “corrective measures”.
"The Assam government does not have the intention to carry out any survey on religious institutions like churches," Sarma told a TV channel on Saturday.
The chief minister was reacting to a letter from the Special Branch of Assam Police to the district administrations seeking information on the number of churches, religious conversion and people involved in forceful conversions, if any.
"I think we should not ask for such kind of information like how many churches are there in Assam. This might hurt the sentiment of a particular religious community. We should avoid this kind of thing," the chief minister, who also holds the home portfolio, said.
"I completely disassociate myself from the letter as it was never discussed in any government forum. The letter is wholly unwarranted and as a citizen of Assam, we want to live in peace and harmony with all the communities," Sarma said.
Pointing out that such a letter (if the government wants to issue at all) is circulated by the DGP or the home department, the chief minister said he was unaware in what context, an officer in the rank of a superintendent of police had come out with the “controversial” letter.
"I have already asked the DGP to make an inquiry and take corrective measures because the government does not want to offend religious sentiments of any community.
"Let me check what is the background; why such a letter has been issued,” he said.
Emphasising that there is a distinction between forceful conversion and otherwise, he said there will be no police crackdown on any such attempt in Assam as the state does not have any law to regulate conversion as of now.
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