The Karnataka government has directed the Department of Minorities Welfare to provide information on persons who have got converted from one religion to another in the last 25 years. The Committee on Welfare of Minorities, Backward Classes which met on October 13 has sought this information and the Joint Secretary of Legislative Assembly has recently written a letter to the Department of Minorities Welfare, according to sources.
The Department of Minorities Welfare has been advised to get information on religious conversions in coordination with Social Welfare, Police, Revenue Departments, district commissioners and chief executive officers. Incidentally, the government has put a hold on the controversial decision to survey official, “unofficial” churches and bible societies across the state to put a check on purported religious conversions in light of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at the Karnataka High Court.
Sources told IANS that this order has been given to see to it that no trouble is caused to authorised churches while getting information regarding religious conversions. The additional information could be gathered from Social Welfare, Revenue, Internal Administration and Law departments and submitted within 30 days, the letter has said.
The Joint Secretary has also sought information on the progress in the investigation of 36 cases of forceful conversions between 2016 and 2021, and information on punishments. The committee on welfare of Backward Classes and Minorities discussed the survey on October 13 and asked the Deputy Commissioners to carry out a survey of churches. The acting Chairman of the Committee, Hosadurga BJP MLA Goolihatti Shekar had also raised the issue in the Monsoon assembly session.
Sources explained that the recent letter to collect information on religious conversions has been written to prepare grounds for preparing a law to prevent forceful religious conversions in the state.