Karnataka

Karnataka government plans to introduce anti-conversion law

Published : September 22, 2021 14:08 IST

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra during the Legislative Assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on September 21. Photo: The Hindu Archives

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra stated in the Legislative Assembly on September 21 that the government was considering introducing an anti-conversion law to prevent forced and inducement-based religious conversions.

Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra stated in the Legislative Assembly on September 21 that the government was considering introducing an anti-conversion law to prevent forced and inducement-based religious conversions. Such incidents are being reported often, said Jnanendra. He was responding to a query raised by Hosadurga legislator Goolihatti Shekar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “There is no scope for forced religious conversion in the State. Converting someone by offering inducements is against the law as well and I have given strict instructions to the police to take action where necessary,” Jnanendra said.

The Home Minister said: “If certain organisations and institutions take advantage of someone’s innocence or other factors and convert this person, there is also a possibility that peace in the area may be affected. When it comes to inducement-based conversions, there is an established network. We are discussing how to prevent this and an appropriate law will be introduced soon.”

Earlier, Goolihatti Shekar claimed that “approximately 20,000 people had converted to Christianity in Chitradurga.” He added: “Even my mother has become a Christian. She has been brainwashed to not wear kumkum or to keep photos of Hindu gods. When I explain to her that this is not correct, she threatens to commit suicide. The entire family is embarrassed because of these developments. They [Christian organisations] are not only converting members of the Scheduled Castes [S.C.], Scheduled Tribes [S.T.] and Backward Classes, but even Muslims”.

Shekar’s statements were endorsed by K.G. Bopaiah, fellow BJP legislator from Virajpet, who urged that “strict action needed to be taken against the conversion racket in the State, especially in S.C. and S.T. colonies and an Uttar Pradesh-like strict law against religious conversion should be introduced in Karnataka also.” Devanand Fulasing Chavan, the Janata Dal (Secular) legislator representing Nagthan, also chimed in, alleging that religious conversions were taking place among the Lambanis in his constituency as well.

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