Karnataka has passed the controversial anti-conversion bill through an ordinance or executive order. The Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Ordinance was approved by the Cabinet earlier today. The new law is meant to prevent religious conversion either by force or through inducement.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Biommai had earlier said that as assembly and the legislative council were adjourned, “we will bring an ordinance to pass the bill in cabinet meeting”.
The bill was initially passed on December 23, 2021, at the Karnataka Vidhan Sabha. But the BJP was running short of numbers in Vidhan Parishad.
Though the situation has changed now and the BJP has the numbers, the government preferred to bring in the law through an executive order, sources indicated.
The Congress had vehemently opposed the proposed law, saying that the the Constitution gives every citizen the freedom to practice, preach and propagate his faith and any law banning religious conversion will violate the Constitution.
Terming the proposed law a “brainchild of RSS (the BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)” and a “political move”, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah had pointed out that there is already a law against forced conversions.
With several BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh having laws to prevent forcible religious conversions, Mr Bommai had said last year that the state was “seriously considering” a similar law.
“Such things (conversions) are happening here and there. Couple of days ago I gave appropriate directions to district administrations not to allow any religious conversion through inducement or by force, as it is illegal,” Mr Bommai had said.
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