Karnataka Home Minister affirms strict implementation of 'Anti-Conversion' law

  • State Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Tuesday said the anti-conversion law is not against any religion, but religious conversion by force or through inducement has no place under the legislation.
The Karnataka government gave effect to the controversial anti-conversion law by way of ordinance last week.
The Karnataka government gave effect to the controversial anti-conversion law by way of ordinance last week.
Published on May 17, 2022 04:59 PM IST
Copy Link
PTI |

Affirming the Karnataka government's commitment to strict implementation of the proposed "anti-conversion law", state Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Tuesday said it is not against any religion, but religious conversion by force or through inducement has no place under the legislation. 

Trying to allay the fears of the Christian community, the Minister clarified that there is nothing in the proposed legislation that curtails the constitutionally provided religious rights. Last week, the Karnataka cabinet had decided to promulgate an ordinance to give effect to the contentious law against religious conversions, and it is now before the Governor for his assent. 

'The Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill' was passed by the Legislative Assembly in December last year. However, it is pending for passage in the Legislative Council, where the ruling BJP is one short of majority. 

The ordinance, which contains all the elements of the bill passed by the assembly, will come into effect after the Governor's assent, and it is likely to remain effective until the government passes the bill in the Legislative Council, during the next legislature session. 

Strongly defending the ordinance, the Minister said this step was taken aimed at maintaining peace and order in the society. Taking note of Christian community leaders meeting Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot on Monday with a memorandum opposing the anti conversion law, he said, "there is no proposal in this proposed legislation that curtails the constitutionally provided religious rights." 

Archbishop of Bengaluru Peter Machado in the memorandum had appealed to the Governor to refrain from giving assent to the Protection of Religious Freedom Ordinance proposed by the Government of Karnataka. Pointing out that the bill was discussed in detail in the assembly and an MLA (Goolihatti Shekar of BJP) had illustrated about the divide that religious conversion has brought in his family, Jnanendra said, "once the ordinance gets approval, it will be implemented effectively." 

Reminding that the Congress had plans to bring in the anti conversion bill in the past, he said, "our government has not only strengthened it, but is committed to strictly implementing it." During the passage of the bill in the Assembly, Jnanendra had said that eight states have passed or were implementing such a law, and Karnataka would become the ninth one. 

The bill that was passed by the Assembly and now will come into effect in the form of an ordinance, provides for protection of right to freedom of religion and prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means. It proposes an imprisonment from three to five years with a fine of 25,000, while for violation of provisions with respect to minors, women, SC/ST, the offenders will face imprisonment from three to ten years and a fine of not less than 50,000. 

The bill also makes provisions for the accused to pay up to five lakh as compensation to those who were made to convert, and with regards to cases of mass conversion there shall be a 3-10 year jail term and a fine of up to one lakh. 

It also states that any marriage which has happened for the sole purpose of unlawful conversion or vice-versa by the man of one religion with the woman of another, either by converting himself before or after marriage or by converting the woman before or after marriage, shall be declared as null and void by the family court. 

The offense under this bill is non-bailable and cognizable. It mandates that persons who wish to convert to another faith shall give a declaration in a prescribed format at least 30 days in advance to the District Magistrate or the Additional District Magistrate specially authorised by the District Magistrate in this regard of his residing district or place of birth within the state. Also the religious converter who performs the conversion shall give 30 days advance notice in a format, to the District Magistrate or the Additional District Magistrate.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Satish Poonia alleged that Ashok Gehlot used the agencies against his own people (File Photo/PTI)

    Ashok Gehlot using agencies as weapon for his defence: Rajasthan BJP chief

    Bharatiya Janata Party Rajasthan state chief Satish Poonia on Saturday alleged that chief minister Ashok Gehlot is using State agencies as a weapon for his defence. His statement came after the additional district session judge of Jaipur issued notice to Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in connection with a case of attempting to topple the state government in July 2020. Out of revenge, he used the agencies against his own people, Poonia said.

  • Officials said that robotic firefighters were also used in dousing the fire that broke out in the north Delhi plastic factory. (Representative Image)

    Fire breaks out at plastic factory in North Delhi

    A massive fire broke out in a plastic godown during the wee hours of Sunday in the Badli area in the outer north district of Delhi. According to people familiar with the matter, 23 fire tenders were dispatched to the spot shortly after the incident. The Delhi Fire Services officials said that a call regarding fire in a godown, stacking plastic granules, in Badli area behind Rohini jail was received at 2.18am.

  • The event welcomed all those who feel marginalised due to their gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, physical ability, and language. (Photo: Manish Rajput/HT)

    Rainbow shines bright on DU’s horizon

    When young voices come together, their force can bring about a change. That's what made the students of Delhi University chant, “We come together, we move apart, we remain queer,” when they got together at Bharati College, for the three-day fest, Horizon. The rainbow might take time to make an appearance in Delhi skies, but at this fest organised by Iris, the queer collective of Bharati College, it sure made its presence felt.

  • The fire broke out around 11.30pm on Saturday and it was brought under control by morning. (Representative Image)

    Fire breaks out in cafeteria of Thane theatre, customers evacuated safely

    A fire broke out in the cafeteria of a theater at the High Street Mall in Kapurbawdi, Thane, on Saturday night, officials said. The customers were evacuated safely but three fire brigade officials suffocated and one suffered minor injury during the incident, they added. Around 11.30pm on Saturday, the manager of the theatre, who was on the third floor, suddenly saw a fire breaking out in the snack corner area.

  • The elections to the Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA) in Bengal’s Darjeeling hills have widened differences among the local parties. (Representative Image)

    West Bengal: Polls begin in Darjeeling, Siliguri, 6 municipal seats

    The voting for the elections to the Gorkha Territorial Administration in Bengal's Darjeeling hills began on Sunday along with polls in 22 gram panchayats under the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad in north Bengal and by-polls at six municipal wards in the districts of North 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Purulia. The West Bengal State Election Commission announced last month that the results of all the polls and by-polls will be declared on June 29.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, June 26, 2022