Anti-Conversion Bill to be tabled in Sri Lanka Parliament

[TamilNet, Friday, 18 June 2004, 00:36 GMT]
Based on a proposal submitted by Buddha Sasana Minister Mr.Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government Friday decided to table a draft bill in Sri Lanka Parliament prohibiting forcible conversion of religion, UPFA spokesman Mr. Mangala Samaraweera said at a press briefing.

Mr.Ratnasiri Wickremanayake is also the Minister for Public Security, Law and Order and the Deputy Minister of Defense.

Meanwhile, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has already drafted a private members' bill titled " Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion." JHU parliamentarian Venerable Omalpe Sobitha Thera has proposed in this draft bill that an imprisonment of not exceeding five years and a fine not exceeding Rs 150,000 should be imposed on a person found guilty of using force, allurement or fraudulent means to convert a person to another religion.

The JHU proposed bill further states that a person found guilty of converting a minor, a woman, Samurdhi beneficiary, prison inmates, inmates of rehabilitation centres and detention centers, physically and mentally disabled, employees of an organization, members of the armed forces or police, students, inmates of hospitals and or places of healing and refugee camps and any other category as may be prescribed by the Minister of the subject by regulations will have to serve an imprisonment not exceeding seven years and also be liable to a fine not exceeding Rs 500,000, sources said.


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