BJP in Karnataka to introduce stringent anti-conversion law

Karnataka minister of Panchayat Raj has alleged that "love jihad" is being carried out to convert Hindu girls in Dakshina Kannada and other districts.

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government is all set to bring in stringent anti-conversion laws in the state in the winter session of the Legislative Assembly which is scheduled to begin on December 13 in the bordering district of Belagavi.

According to sources, the new law will have provisions to punish the accused involved in forceful conversions for up to 10 years. The new law will also make declaration before a magistrate ahead of religious conversions mandatory. The law will also give scope for authorities to conduct police inquiry if needed.

Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development K.S. Eshwarappa on Friday lashed out at Congress President D.K. Shivakumar saying no matter what the opposition party leaders do or whatever extent they go, the ruling BJP would definitely bring anti-conversion laws in the state.

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“Doesn’t Shivakumar know that people are being converted? In fact, people are forced, assaulted and attacked for religious conversions. Don’t you feel a thing about it?” he asked.

The minister said that the ruling BJP is bringing anti-conversion law to preserve and protect Indian culture. “Love jihad” is being carried out to convert Hindu girls in Dakshina Kannada and other districts. People are lured with money for getting converted into other religions, he stated.

He claimed that the Hindu population in Pakistan has come down from 24 per cent to a mere three per cent. “We will bring a law on religious conversion and also regarding slaughter houses,” he underlined.

The BJP, the sources say, is all set to introduce the bill on preventing forceful conversions during the Belagavi session. The blueprint of the new legislation is ready. The government has also sent the blueprint for scrutiny twice. The law is going to be placed before the house on lines of the Cow slaughter Act and act on the preservation of religious structures introduced in the Monsoon session to stop temple demolitions in the state.

The legal department has studied anti-conversion laws brought in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and other states in the country.

Sources reveal that the law will have stringent measures against forceful conversions. As per the new law, all forceful conversions will be declared null and void. It will also give free hand for police and authorities to initiate direct legal action against those involved in forceful conversions.

It is also explained that, as per new law the person who is getting converted must declare about his decision before a government authority which will be empowered to conduct a probe to ascertain if there is any force behind such decisions.

The onus of proving that there is no forceful conversion will be with the individual. Any crime under the new law is going to be a non-bailable offence. As per the provisions of the new law, persons involved in forceful conversions would be imprisoned for one to five years. If any minor, woman or people belonging to scheduled caste and tribes are forcefully converted, it would fetch 10 years’ imprisonment, the sources said.

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