New Delhi: Despite not getting support from the opposition in the Assembly and from several quarters in the society, the ruling BJP government in Karnataka passed the Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, commonly referred to as Anti-Conversion Bill, on Thursday by voice vote in the state legislative assembly. The bill will still need to be approved by the Legislative Council, where BJP doesn’t have a majority.
Amid stiff opposition to The Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, from the Congress and The JD(S), Karnataka Law Minister JC Madhu Swamy said that bill was first initiated by Congress’ former chief minister Siddaramaiah. However, the law minister assured that the bill will be constituted to protect all the religions and any forceful conversion from any community will be punishable.
Karnataka Assembly passes Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021
— ANI (@ANI) December 23, 2021
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After the opposition attacked the ruling BJP government by saying bill is politically motivated and can trigger communal uproar in the state, the law minister denied the comments by responding, “Those are wrong assumptions.”
Pointing out the vulnerability of the SCs and STs conversion in the state, CM Basavaraj Bommai argued that the SC and ST population needed extra protection cover.
According to ANI news agency, Karnataka Minister Dr Ashwathnarayan said, “This was a much-awaited Bill. It will facilitate transparency and accountability. It is a forward-looking Bill that will address many challenges being currently faced. It will create harmony in the society.”
The bill was introduced by Home Minister Araga Jnanendra in the Assembly on Tuesday amidst a dramatic walkout staged by the Karnataka Congress. The state’s party president DK Shivakumar tore the copy of the Bill before walking out of the assembly.
The Anti-Conversion Bill makes religious conversion a non-bailable offense with up to 10 years of imprisonment and up to Rs 1 lakh of penalty if proved to be guilty of forceful conversion, allurement or marriage, coercion.
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