The southern part of India has been a happy hunting ground for Islamic and Christian lobbies looking to bring Hindus into their own fold. However, things are set to change as Karnataka now plans to punish culprits through its anti-conversion law.
Anti-Conversion law in Karnataka:
Basavaraj Bommai headed BJP government in Karnataka, is all set to apply a power-break on conversion mafias running rout in the state. The government is in the final round of deliberations to chalk out the nitty and gritty of the proposed law.
What anti-conversion law will entail?
According to various reports available in the public domain, Karnataka’s anti-conversion law has some of the strictest provisions against conversion mafias.
- There is no provision to punish anyone who has converted on his/her own volition. However, if anyone converts to another religion through misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or marriage, then the accused will be severely punished.
- If any conversion mafia converts a person from the general category, then that mafia will be subject to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 and serve a jail term of three to five years.
- If anyone is found converting minors, women, and children from SC and ST communities, they will be subject to a jail term of three to ten years and a fine of Rs 10,000.
- If someone is convicted for converting someone then he/she will have to pay a compensation of Rs 5, 00,000 to the victim. The amount will be doubled if the conversion mafia is a repeat offender.
- If someone marries a person from another religion with the intent to convert them, the marriage can be declared null and void by a competent jurisdiction.
Read more: Karnataka will conduct survey of churches to ‘check forced conversions’
Prior information to DM will have to be provided:
A person wishing to convert will have to inform the district magistrate (DM) of his/her intent. The information should be passed to DM before 60 days of his conversion event. If they fail to inform, they will be subject to a prison term of six months to three years. The person who will convert (generally a religious preacher) will need to inform the DM 30 days before the conversion event. The 30-days window will be used by authorities to investigate the real purpose of the conversion. If the procedure is not followed then the preacher will be subject to suffering one year to five years in Jail.
No benefits after changing religion:
If any person converts from one religion to another, then they will not be entitled to any government benefits accruing out of their status in the previous religion. To put it simply, if a person belonging to SC/ST community converts to Christianity, then the same person will not be able to claim reservations under SC/ST category. Similarly, if he/she gets thrashed by a person, then no protection under SC/ST Act will be available to them.
Opposition criticizes the bill:
Meanwhile, the opposition has come out all guns blazing against the proposed bill. Congress leaders joined the protest by the Federation of Indian Christians against the bill. Siddaramaiah, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly accused the government of malicious intentions. Confirming Congress’ alliance with the Christian lobby group, he said, “The Government wants to create problems for the Christian community. We will not let it happen, We want to assure the community that we are with you,”
Much-needed bill against forcible conversions:
Hindus converting to other religions has been a major problem for the state. Islamists use various methods like love-Jihad, threat, and other means to convert Hindus into Muslims. Similarly, Christian evangelists lure people through benefits like Rice Bags and curing them through unrealistic supernatural powers (remember Yeshu-Yeshu?).
Read more: Navratri Celebrations in Andhra become yet another religious conversion event
The bill on its face seems to be the right step towards correcting the wrongdoings of minority appeasement politics in the country. It had gone way too far and was hampering the constitutional rights of Sanatanis in the country. This bill will bring a sense of balance around conversion mafias.
Thank you BJP government of Karnataka, this is the most welcome step and much needed law now. All other states of India must pass similar laws.