New Delhi: Rejecting government's proposal for a law against conversion, Congress on Monday said freedom to religion is an "essential fabric and character" of the Constitution which cannot be tinkered with.
Congress alleged that controversial conversion programmes are being organised by groups affiliated to Sangh parivar and demands raised by them for an anti-conversion law were aimed at creating "fear psychosis" among minorities and depicting them as "lesser citizens".
"It is a belief of the Congress that Constitution adequately addresses the right of freedom to religion. No amendment or tempering with existing provisions is required to deal with it... For heaven's sake, don't alter founding principles," party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, BJP President Amit Shah and the BJP-led government have pitched for a law as opposition parties have sought to corner the Narendra Modi government over controversial 'ghar-wapsi' events. Hindu bodies claim they are re-converting those who were converted from Hinduism by Christian and Muslim groups.
Surjewala, however, sidestepped questions about anti-conversion laws brought in by Congress governments in different states in the past, insisting that existing constitutional safeguards could deal with the issue.
Taking a dig at Sangh and BJP leaders, including Modi and Shah, he said they should at least listen to their own colleague and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who in a recent event had reportedly said that India's genius lay in its ability to absorb and encompass many cultures with whom it has come in contact.
"At the same time it allowed different cultures to flourish as distinct entities based on the principle of unity in diversity," she had said.
Surjewala added that the entire controversy was a "diversionary" tactic employed by the government and its affiliates to take people's attention away from the Centre's failure in bringing back black money, creating new jobs and bringing any investment despite Modi's "gimmickry".