Skip to main content

India (Tamil Nadu Ordinance)

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what representations he has made on the impact of religious freedom of the Tamil Nadu ordinance on movement within the state; and if he will make a statement; [110110](2) what reports he has received on the impact on the Dalit people in India of the ordinance relating to movement in the state passed by the Tamil Nadu State Government; and if he will make a statement. [110111]

Since the Tamil Nadu Ordinance on Religious Conversions was passed into law on 2 December 2002, some observers in the state have noted a general fall in the number of public conversions there, but we have not been able to corroborate this. The law's effects on Tamil Nadu's Dalit population are also as yet unclear. We are not aware of any cases that have yet been brought to court under the law's provisions.Although the impact of this law is not yet clear, we are concerned that this legislation might in practice discourage Tamil Nadu's citizens from adopting the religion of their choice. Such an effect might limit religious freedoms as outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which India has ratified. We have had no discussions with the Government of India about this legislation. But our Missions in India will continue to monitor closely the implementation of the law, and we will discuss with EU Partners whether any EU action is necessary.