The Congress will not only oppose the anti-conversion Bill in the Assembly but also start a State-wide agitation against it, KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar said in Belagavi on Tuesday.
“The Bill is aimed at Christians and their institutions. The BJP is alleging that they are converting the poor forcibly. This is baseless. There are no forcible conversions. Thousands of students from Hindu and other faiths attend convent schools in the State. Are all these schools conversion centres?’’ he wondered.
“I know for a fact that children of at least 21 Ministers are either in convent schools or have passed out of such schools. Have they been forcibly converted?’’ he said, while speaking to journalists. “Even I went to a Christian school. No one tried to convert me,’’ he said.
Most leaders take their relatives to Christian hospitals. But they target Christians for political benefit, he said.
He accused the BJP of using the Bill as a diversionary tactic. The government wants to divert the attention of the common man, away from its failures in managing law and order and the economy. It is bringing such bills only to divide society and foment communal troubles, he said. He called it a blot on the multi-cultural legacy of the State.
The Bill takes away the citizen’s freedom to practice and preach a religion of his choice. It will also affect the freedom of thought. It does not affect only Christians, but also all non-Hindu faiths, he said.
He said that the Bill will bring a bad name to India in the international fora. Spiritual centres like ISKCON and Mata Amrutanandamayi Ashram attract a lot of foreigners who are inclined towards Hindu philosophy. Such a Bill will disturb all that, he said.
He denied allegations that one of the youths accused of desecrating the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was seen with Congress MLA Zameer Ahmed Khan in Bengaluru. “A lot of people come to meet political leaders. It does not mean they belong to their party,’’ he said.