Congress to oppose Karnataka government’s anti-conversion Bill

Published : December 16, 2021 13:42 IST

Siddaramaiah (left), Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly, addressing mediapersons in Belagavi on December 14. Photo: The Hindu Archives

The Indian National Congress leadership in Karnataka has made it clear that it will oppose the proposed anti-conversion Bill that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka intends to table in the ongoing Belagavi session of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. The decision was taken on at the Congress legislature party meeting in Belagavi on December 15.

Speaking at the meeting, Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister, said: “The BJP plays politics over emotional issues to distract people’s attention from pressing problems that the State is facing. The intention of the Bill is to target a particular community and the BJP’s political intentions are clear in this. This is part of the strategy of the BJP. We will oppose this.”

The proposal to oppose the Bill at the Congress legislature party meeting by Siddaramaiah was met with unanimous approval by the legislators who were present. D.K. Shivakumar, president, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, also said that the Congress will oppose the Bill outside the legislature as well. “We will oppose the Bill as it is against the Constitution and the government cannot target one community by using the law,” he added.

Significantly, H.D. Kumaraswamy, former Chief Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader, also said that his party will oppose the Bill on the floor of the Legislative Assembly.

According to reliable sources, the proposed Bill will be stringent in the sense that persons convicted of forceful religious conversion can be jailed for up to 10 years along with a fine of Rs. 50,000. In statements to the media, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has made it clear that his government plans to table the Bill in the in the ongoing session of the Assembly in spite of protests from opposition politicians, civil society activists and minority organisations across the State.

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