Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday, November 12, said the state will soon have an anti-religious conversion law. Speaking to reporters, CM Bommai said, "The state government is studying related laws enacted by other states and soon an anti-conversion legislation will be formulated." He was replying to a query on a meeting held by a group of seers, seeking a ban on religious conversion, on Friday.
According to Hindu Janajagruti Samiti convener Mohana Gowda, under whose aegis the event was organised, over 50 seers of various Hindu religious orders met CM Bommai and expressed a need for a law banning religious conversion. The Chief Minister categorically stated that the Constitution does not permit forced conversion.
Later, Mohana Gowda said in a statement that Sriram Sena chief Pramod Muthalik, Santhosh Guruji, Siddalinga Swami and Pranavananda Swami were among the delegates. Muthalik was quoted as alleging that schools and hospitals are being used for religious conversion. Many illegal churches were also coming up in the state, he alleged.
Recently, Karnataka has seen several attacks on churches and christian prayer halls by Hindutva activists claiming that forced conversions were taking place. In an earlier report, several right wing organisations had told TNM that the recent increase in the number of such attacks was being done to create an atmosphere against religious conversions.
According to a draft memorandum formulated by right-wing groups, which was accessed exclusively by TNM, the following demands were going to be placed before CM Bommai.
> Preaching except for religious reasons should be banned. For example, religious preaching with promises of education, healthcare and financial motivations should be banned.
> Preaching by foreigners or those with support of funds from abroad should be regulated. Any such activity should have prior permission.
> Those who preach saying a particular religion is better than other religions so one should convert, or that scriptures of one religion are better than others and that any religion is higher than others, should be banned.
> The religion of every single citizen should be easily identifiable in documents. To facilitate this, a religion certificate should be given to everybody and birth certificate should also reflect if there is any religious conversion. Documentation after religious conversion should be made mandatory.
With IANS inputs