Karnataka mulls punishment for forced conversion under new Bill

The law is not aimed at targeting any particular community, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said

The government is likely to table the anti-conversion Bill during the winter session of the state legislature that began on Monday in the border district of Belagavi

The proposed anti-conversion Bill that the Karnataka government is likely to introduce during the ongoing winter session of the state legislature, is expected to have penal provisions. The provisions may also insist that the persons who wish to convert to another faith should file an application before the Deputy Commissioner two months in advance.

Also, the person who wishes to convert is likely to lose facilities or benefits attached to the religion of his or her origin including reservations. However, one is likely to receive the benefits entitled to in the religion he or she converts to.

“The anti-conversion law that we are bringing, is not aimed at targeting any particular community, we are bringing it within the framework of law, it is there in the Article 25 of the constitution that there cannot be forced conversion, but there was no penal clause if such conversion takes place,” Home Minister Araga Jnanendra pointed out.

Speaking to media persons in Belagavi, Jnanendra said, “We are bringing punishment, penalty provisions (for forced conversion). One who wants to convert should submit an application two months prior to the Deputy Commissioner, also the person performing conversion will also have to apply. Those who are converting will have to lose the religion of their origin and facilities or benefits attached with it.”

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The government is likely to table the anti-conversion Bill during the winter session of the state legislature that began on Monday in the border district of Belagavi.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Monday that the anti-conversion bill is before the law department’s scrutiny committee. Once cleared, it will come before the cabinet and thereafter will be introduced in the Legislative Assembly and Council.

State Congress president DK Shivakumar said that his party is completely opposed to the proposed anti-conversion Bill, calling it anti-constitution and warned that it will be detrimental to the interest of the state.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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