The Basavaraj Bommai government is likely to table the anti-conversion Bill in the Karnataka Legislative Council today. “Even Congress and JDS must support this bill introduced. Everything should go smoothly. It was passed in the lower house, doing it in the upper house now. We’re all enthusiastic it will be passed and it is one of the most awaited bills,” said BJP MLC DS Arun.
Last year in December, amid the ruckus by the Opposition, the Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 or anti-conversion Bill was passed in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly but due to the lack of majority, the Prohibition of Conversion Bill was not presented in the Council. The Government has decided to present the proposal in the Karnataka Legislative Council today and Congress is likely to oppose the bill but since BJP has a majority, the possibility of passing the bill has increased.
The Bill will provide for the protection of the 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. The bill introduced by the BJP government gives the right to any person to file a complaint against religious conversion, protecting the right to freedom of religion in the state.
It proposes imprisonment of up to 10 years for forced religious conversion and the offense is made to be a non-bailable and cognizable. According to the new law, any converted person, his parents, brother, sister, or any other person who is related to him by blood, marriage, adoption, or in any form associated, or colleague may file a complaint of such conversion.
The bill has the purpose of prohibiting unlawful conversion of religion, providing protection to those who were forced to convert from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, the promise of marriage, or by any fraudulent means and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. “No person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any other person from one religion to another by use or practice of force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by any other means or promise of marriage, nor shall any person abet or conspire such conversion,” the Bill stated.
Notably, the bill was introduced by the BJP government in the Karnataka Assembly last year after which it sparked controversy and was opposed by Opposition parties in the state.