Karnataka Cabinet promulgates ordinance on anti-conversion Bill

New Delhi: The Karnataka government promulgated an ordinance to give effect to the Anti-Conversion Bill on Thursday.

The Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill was passed in the state Legislative Assembly in December 2021.

Speaking about the Bill on Thursday, State Law Minister Madhu Swamy said, "The Cabinet has decided to take the ordinance route as the Council was not in session. Whatever was passed in the Assembly will be made an ordinance, without any amendment. We will go before the council to pass the ordinance."

Earlier, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the bill is only to prevent religious conversions by inducements. He added that the people need not worry about the Anti-Conversion Bill.

"Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism are constitutionally recognised religions. There would be no hindrance to the worship and religious practices of people belonging to any religion. The bill is only to prevent religious conversions by inducements," the Chief Minister had said in December.

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar said, "I don't know why the Karnataka government is in such a hurry (to pass the Anti-Conversion Bill in its Cabinet meeting today through ordinance)... (they should) take an ordinance on some development agenda or giving employment to the youth."

Reacting to the Ordinance, the Archbishop of Bengaluru said that it will "affect the harmonious relationship that we enjoy with members of all the communities in Karnataka."

In April 2021, Gujarat Vidhan Sabha passed the 'Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2021' with a majority to bring more stringent punishment against forced religious conversions through marriage.

Gujarat had become the third state after Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to make a law against forced religious conversions.

The Karnataka Anti-Conversion Bill also proposes imprisonment of three to five years with a fine of Rs 25,000 for forced conversion. (ANI)

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