Nod to Karnataka's anti-conversion ordinance

Wednesday 25th May 2022 07:00 EDT

Bengaluru: Despite protests from the Christian community and the opposition, Karnataka governor Thaawar Chand Gehlot gave his assent to the controversial ordinance to implement the provisions of the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, better known as the anti-conversion bill.
Karnataka is the ninth state to enact a law against ‘forced’ religious conversions. A similar law exists in UP, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.
Gehlot gave his nod a day after Bengaluru Archbishop Peter Machado and a delegation of Christians called on him and requested him not to approve the ordinance. Congress and JD(S) have also opposed the bill, accusing the government of promulgating it only to harass Christians and appease its Hindu vote bank.
The bill was passed in the legislative assembly in December last year and was pending approval in the council where BJP is one member short of a majority. The government then promulgated an ordinance on May 12 to implement the law.
Home minister Araga Jnanendra reiterated the government’s commitment to implement the law, insisting that it is a step “aimed at maintaining peace and order in society”. “It (the ordinance) is not against any religion, but religious conversion by force or through inducement has no place under the legislation,” he said. He also allayed fears of the Christian community, insisting there is nothing in the legislation that curtails constitutionally provided religious rights.

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