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Karnataka to implement Anti-Conversion Bill through ordinance

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Bengaluru, May 12 (IANS): The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka is all set to bring an ordinance in connection with the implementation of the controversial Anti-Conversion Bill in the state.

The implementation of the bill which proposes stringent measures on religious conversion activities is going to create a lot of chaos in the state.

The move from the BJP in Karnataka came following Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Wednesday.

The high command has also summoned Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra to Delhi, and the issue is likely to be discussed, according to party sources.

The bill has been passed in the Legislative Assembly and it is yet to be presented in the Legislative Council.

The ruling BJP is one seat short of majority in the council. However, the top leaders have decided to put the bill into execution through an ordinance.

This bill is being termed as a polarising tactic of the saffron party over Hindu votes in the state.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai stated on Thursday that, since the Anti-Conversion Bill is prolonged in the state legislature, it has been decided to bring an ordinance towards its implementation.

“The matter will be discussed in the cabinet and a suitable decision would be taken,” he explained.

The council elections are scheduled to be held on June 3 for seven seats.

The ruling BJP which is currently short of one seat, is likely to win 4 seats and attain full majority. The party would present the bill later and it would be a cakewalk for the party to get the bill passed in the council, the sources said.

The Karnataka government had tabled the proposed controversial Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 popularly known as Anti-conversion bill in the legislative assembly in Suvarna Vidhana Soudha at Belagavi on December 21 last year. However, it is yet to come before the Legislative Council.

According to the new law, any converted person, his parents, brother, sister or any other person who is related to him by blood, marriage or adoption or in any form associated or colleague may lodge a complaint of such conversion which contravenes the provisions. The offence is made to be non-bailable and cognisable.

The bill proposes declaration before conversion of religion and also pre-report about conversion.

The declaration of post conversion of religion is also proposed. If any institution violates the act, the imprisonment of up to five years from three years with a fine of Rs 25,000 is prescribed. If the victim is a minor and indulges in mass conversions, the imprisonment is extended up to 10 years.

The bill proposes protection of right to freedom of religion and protection of 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.

“Allurement includes any gift, easy money or material benefit either in cash or kind; employment, free education in school or college run by any religious body; promise to marry or portraying practice, rituals and ceremonies or any integral part of a religion in a detrimental way vis-a-vis another religion; or glorifying one religion against the another religion,” according to the bill.

The bill also proposes grant of appropriate compensation by the accused up to Rs 5 lakh. If the accused repeats the offence, the bill proposes jail term of not less than five years and liable to pay the fine of Rs 2 lakh.

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