Anti-Conversion Bill to be tabled in next Karnataka legislature session

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KEY STORY

  • The State government is likely to introduce the Anti-Conversion Bill in the next legislature session in Belagavi beginning from December 13. Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said that the government is keen to pass the Bill and the draft is expected to be ready by December 5.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand have already passed such laws and Karnataka is studying them, he told The New Indian Express. “We are also consulting legal experts and preparing the draft. We want to bring it in the next legislature session and we are working towards it,” he added.
  • On Archbishop Peter Machado, who has written to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai opposing the proposed bill, Jnanendra said that Machado and his team met him. “I told them this law has nothing to do with any religion and that no one from any religion should be worried.
  • The bill is to take action against those who convert people forcibly. The law and order situation is getting affected because of such conversions. As it involves an emotional factor, it disturbs harmony in society. There have been clashes between communities and the government cannot sit idle. Forcible conversions have to be banned. This does not mean that the government will restrict prayers and other religious practices. We accept all religions,” he added.
  • At another event, Bommai told the media on Monday that the issue will be discussed within the party.
  • When the chief minister’s statement was brought to his notice, Jnanendra said that he will get the draft bill ready and take the opinions and suggestions of party leaders and get their approval. “We want to introduce and pass the bill in this session. There is a high chance of the bill getting passed. We are skeptical only because the duration of the session is just ten days,” he added.
  • Recently, heads of several mutts, including Santhosh Guruji, Siddalinga Swami and Pranavananda Swami, met Bommai, urging him to ban religious conversions in the state.  The issue of anti-conversion bill was raised in the previous session by BJP MLA Gulihatti Shekar, who alleged that religious conversions are rampant in Chitradurga and said that his mother had converted to Christianity. Jnanedra had then said the government is proposing to bring in a law to control forcible conversions.

 

 

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