K’taka Anti-Conversion Bill set to be implemented

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Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Wednesday tabled the Act in the assembly to be sent for the Governor’s consent. Once the consent is given, which is just a formality now, it will be implemented across the state…reports Asian Lite News

The Karnataka government is all set to implement the controversial Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 popularly known as the anti-conversion bill in the state.

The bill, which has been effective in the state through promulgation, has been passed in the Legislative Council during the ongoing Monsoon session. It was passed in the Legislative Assembly on December 21, 2021.

Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Wednesday tabled the Act in the assembly to be sent for the Governor’s consent. Once the consent is given, which is just a formality now, it will be implemented across the state.

According to the new law, any converted person, his parents, brother, sister or any other person who is related to him by blood, marriage or adoption or in any form associated may lodge a complaint of such conversion which contravenes the provisions. The offence is non-bailable and cognizable.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress leaders attacked the ruling BJP claiming the legislation was a “political gimmick” brought in to divert attention from issues like unemployment and inflation.

The Congress had staged a walkout from the Legislative Council as it passed the Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, which was passed by the state Legislative assembly in December last year.

“To do such a thing is not allowed in the Constitution. Biggest conversion in Karnataka happens in the Lingayat community. This is a political gimmick that the media is also publicising. It is a political strategy of BJP-RSS to humiliate some (segment of the ) population and target a particular community. Freedom of religion is a Constitutional right and everyone has it. You cannot stop someone from converting. As a government, you are there to protect the Constitution and give protection to all society of people in society,” NA Hassan, Congress MLA, told ANI.

Another Congress MLA from Shivajinagar, Rizwan Arshad, also expressed his dismay saying it was a bull brought in to please the RSS.

“It is a political bill, brought in to please their Sangh Parivar bosses and to divert attention from 40% commission, joblessness, inflation and price rise and hide their inefficiencies. They are going to target the Christian community and churches. This will empower hooligans who target churches. This is a sadist bill and against natural justice. This bill will empower those who target churches,” Arshad said.

According to the state government, the bill provides for the protection of the right to freedom of religion and prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or any fraudulent means.

The bill passed in both houses of Karnataka by the BJP government gives the right to any person to file a complaint against religious conversion, protecting the right to freedom of religion in the state. It proposes imprisonment of up to ten years for forced religious conversion and the offence is made to be non-bailable and cognizable.

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