Karnataka anti-conversion bill approved by governor, know what the new law states

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In a historic decision in the state, the anti-conversion bill in Karnataka has now been established as a law after state governor Thaawar Chand Gehlot on Tuesday gave his assent to the ordinance the controversial bill introduced by the BJP government.

Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 popularly known as the anti-conversion bill, was sent to the governor for approval after a recent decision by the state cabinet. Since the ordinance has been passed, the anti-conversion law has come into effect in Karnataka.

With the Governor according to the permission for the proposed bill, the ruling BJP is all set to implement the bill which proposes stringent measures on religious conversion activities and may create a lot of chaos in the state.

The bill has been passed by the Assembly but is yet to be presented in the Legislative Council, where the ruling BJP is one seat short of the majority. However, the top leaders have decided to put the bill into execution through an ordinance – which will have to be approved by both the houses within 6 months.

What does Karnataka’s anti-conversion law state?

The bill introduced by the BJP government in Karnataka has been approved as a law in the state, under which any person can file a complaint against religious conversion, protecting the right to freedom of religion in Karnataka.

According to the new law, any converted person, his parents, brother, sister, or any other person who is related to him by blood, marriage, adoption, or in any form associated, or colleague may lodge a complaint of such conversion which contravenes the provisions. The offense is made to be a non-bailable and cognizable offense.

The bill has the purpose of prohibiting unlawful conversion of religion, providing protection to those who were forced to convert from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, the promise of marriage, or by any fraudulent means and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Further, the bill states, “No person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any other person from one religion to another by use or practice of force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by any other means or promise of marriage, nor shall any person abet or conspire such conversion.”

The anti-conversion bill was introduced by the BJP government in the Karnataka assembly in 2021, sparking a major controversy. It must be noted that before Karnataka, the anti-conversion bill was introduced in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jharkhand.

(With IANS inputs)

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