Christians oppose proposed anti-conversion Bill

The All-Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights organised a peace assembly in Bengaluru on Saturday to oppose the proposed Bill.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Expressing opposition to the proposed anti-conversion Bill by the State Government, Archbishop of Bengaluru Peter Machado on Saturday said the move goes against the principles of the Indian Constitution and would become a tool for fringe groups to target and harass Christians in Karnataka.

He said, “Even without the law, since January there have been 32 reported incidents of attacks on churches in Belagavi, Hubballi, Belur, and other areas. If without the legislation this can happen, just imagine what will happen after passing the legislation. The proposed move will have a far-reaching impact,” he said.

Citing media reports, the Archbishop said that after BJP MLA Goolihatti Shekar made allegations of illegal conversion happening in Hosadurga taluk, officials carried out a survey and found no illegal conversions. In the wake of the findings, the Archbishop demanded the State Government change its mind and not introduce the Bill.

The Archbishop was talking to the media on the sidelines of a peace assembly organised by the All-Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights (AKUCFH) on St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral premises in the city on Saturday to oppose the proposed Bill. He said there was a plan to organise a peace assembly involving thousands of people, which was scaled down owing to COVID-19 protocol.

He said in Belagavi, where the winter session of State legislature would be held, community members would participate in a hunger strike.

Congress MLC Ivan D’Souza alleged that the State Government was planning to introduce the Bill succumbing to pressure from fringe groups. A majority of the Hindus do not support the Bill, he claimed.

In a memorandum submitted to the Government, the Archbishop said, “Today, there is enough documentation to show that persecution of Christians is taking place in every State and every Union Territory in India. The proposed law will only make the situation worse. The issue of forced conversion is a highly exaggerated subject. Many of our BJP leaders have studied in Christian schools and they have chosen Christian hospitals for medical treatment. None of them were forcefully converted.”

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 6:42:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/christians-oppose-proposed-anti-conversion-bill/article37847718.ece

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