Karnataka mulling over law to stop religious conversion through inducement

It is fine if a person voluntarily adopts a religion, says Home Minister

Updated - November 18, 2021 06:26 pm IST

Published - September 21, 2021 05:24 pm IST - Bengaluru

The Minister was responding to a question by Goolihatti Shekar (BJP) during zero hour on alleged large-scale conversion of Hindus and Muslims to Christianity, in the Legislative Assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.

The Minister was responding to a question by Goolihatti Shekar (BJP) during zero hour on alleged large-scale conversion of Hindus and Muslims to Christianity, in the Legislative Assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.

Home Minister Araga Jnanedra informed the Legislative Assembly on September 21 that the Karnataka government has been holding discussions on enacting a law to prevent religious conversion through inducement. The Minister was responding to a question on alleged large-scale conversion of Hindus and Muslims to Christianity by Goolihatti Shekar (BJP) during zero hour.

To increase their population, some missionaries have been involved in conversions, and the government has been discussing various options to stop conversions through inducement, Mr. Jnanendra said.

“It is fine if a person voluntarily adopts a religion. But, religious conversion by inducements is incorrect, and this could also lead to communal disharmony,” the Minister said.

On the BJP member’s charge that some churches submit petitions to file cases of atrocities against Hindus, the Minister said action would be taken against police officials who register false cases. He claimed that ‘forced religious conversion is rampant’ in Karnataka.

Mother’s case

Narrating his mother’s conversion to Christianity, Mr. Shekar said she was ‘brainwashed’ into not wearing vermilion on her forehead and abandoning idol worship. His mother had a Christian community song as the ringtone, and this had ‘caused embarrassment to the family’, he said.

More than 15,000 people, particularly belonging to Dalit and backward castes and the poor, have been converted to Christianity by missionaries in Hosadurga constituency by offering inducements, the member alleged.

Devanand Chavan (JD-S) alleged that many people of the Banjara community in Vijayapura had been converted to Christianity.

U.P. model

K.G. Bopaiah (BJP) claimed that religious conversions have been occurring across Karnataka. Christian missionaries had been targeting SC/ST colonies for conversion of Hindus to Christianity. There is a ‘dire need for a strong law on the lines of what exists in Uttar Pradesh’ to stop religious conversions, he said.

 

Speaker Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri suggested to the Home Minister to examine prevailing laws in various States and enact a law in Karnataka to stop religious conversion through inducement.

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