Mangaluru

Ordinance against religious conversion promulgated to implement hidden agenda of BJP, say political activists

Sunil Kumar Bajal of the CPI(M), Kallige Taranath Shetty, former MLA J. R. Lobo, M.G. Hegade and M.B. Sadashiva of the JD(S) at a press conference, in Mangaluru on Thursday.

Sunil Kumar Bajal of the CPI(M), Kallige Taranath Shetty, former MLA J. R. Lobo, M.G. Hegade and M.B. Sadashiva of the JD(S) at a press conference, in Mangaluru on Thursday. | Photo Credit: H.S. MANJUNATH

Former Mangaluru City South MLA and former Karnataka Administrative Service (KAS) official J.R. Lobo said here on Thursday that the State government appears to have promulgated the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Ordinance, 2022 to target certain communities and service-oriented institutes and organisations.

Addressing a joint press conference with the activists of the Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular), and the Communist Party of India (Marxists), he said that the government has promulgated the ordinance in a hurry without debating the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 properly in both the Houses of Legislature.

“Why the hurry to promulgate an ordinance when both the Houses of the Legislature are functioning,” he asked.

Mr. Lobo said that the government should withdraw the ordinance and re-introduce the Bill after holding consultations with the people, elected representatives, and legal experts by taking their suggestions and recommendations into consideration.

Taking objections to the Section 4, the Section 7, and the Section 12 in the Ordinance, he said that these three particular sections need to be revised to prevent likely “harassment” of certain communities and service-oriented institutes and organisations.

Section 4 mentions: “...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...” while Section 7 states that the every offence committed under the Ordinance “shall be cognizable and non-bailable.”

He said that the Section 4 can be misused by any person or any organisation to target institutions and communities without any valid reason and the “offence” is non-bailable.

Further Section 12 states: “...The burden of proof as to whether a religious Conversion was not effected through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage, lies on the person who has caused the conversion and on the abettor who aids or abets such conversion.”

According to this section, Mr. Lobo said that the accused himself has to prove that he or she is not guilty. “It clearly shows that the ordinance has been promulgated to implement the hidden agenda of the BJP,” Mr. Lobo said.

Sunil Kumar Bajal, a CPI (M) leader, and M.B. Sadashiva, a leader of the Janata Dal (Secular), said that the ordinance is likely to promote hate among communities and filing of complaints and counter complaints without valid reasons.

M.G. Hegde, a social activist, and Kallige Taranath Shetty, a Congress activist, said that the ordinance is politically motivated.

Mr. Lobo and Mr. Sadashiva said that the activists will think about challenging the ordinance in the court of law after forming public opinion.


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Printable version | May 27, 2022 12:39:08 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/ordinance-against-religious-conversion-promulgated-to-implement-hidden-agenda-of-bjp-say-political-activists/article65463732.ece