Karnataka Governor Gives Assent to Anti-Conversion Ordinance

On 12 May, the Karnataka Cabinet had approved the anti-conversion bill.

2 min read
Karnataka Governor Gives Assent to Anti-Conversion Ordinance
Hindi Female

The Quint DAILY

For impactful stories you just can’t miss

By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy

Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot on Tuesday, 17 May, gave his assent to the anti-conversion ordinance.

On 12 May, the Karnataka government had decided to bring in the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, through an ordinance.

"Cabinet has approved the anti-conversion bill, it will be tabled in the next session, till then ordinance will be in place," Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had said at the time, reported news agency ANI.

A notice from the governor regarding the ordinance stated that the former was "satisfied" regarding the existence of circumstances to give assent to the anti-conversion ordinance.

'No Case of Forced Conversion Reported': Bengaluru Archbishop in Letter to Governor

This comes despite an appeal made by the Archbishop of Bengaluru, Peter Machado, on 16 May to the governor to not give assent to the anti-conversion ordinance.

"The entire Christian community in Karnataka opposes the proposal of Protection of Religious Freedom Bill also known as Anti-Conversion Bill in one voice and questions the need for such an exercise when sufficient laws and court directives are in place to monitor any aberration of the existing laws," a letter written by the archbishop to the governor stated.

The archbishop further asked why only the Christian community was being targeted for this "arbitrary, fallacious and illogical move."

He further said that it was a well-known fact that thousands of schools, colleges and hospitals were managed by Christians across the state and the country, adding that not a single case of forced conversion had been reported so far.

"It is indeed a matter of great concern that anti-conversion bill would become a tool for the fringe elements to take law into their own hands, and vitiate the atmosphere with provocations, false accusations, communal unrest in the otherwise peaceful state of Karnataka," Archbishop Machado added.

He further said that "a few stray and sporadic incidents" of conversion should not portray the entire community in bad light.


The Anti-Conversion Bill

The Karnataka Cabinet had on 12 May approved the anti-conversion bill, making way for it to be tabled in the next Assembly session.

The bill, titled 'Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill 2021,' seeks to prohibit conversion from one religion to another by means that it lists as fraudulent.

The Legislative Assembly had passed the legislation in December 2021, during the winter session of the state Assembly.

The bill has seen widespread dissent from the Opposition, religious authorities, and the state's residents, with the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar saying, "The government is attempting to undermine the contributions of the Christian community in education and other fields by proposing this (anti-conversion) law."

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, too, had accused the BJP of trying to implement its "hidden agenda" by raising issues like "Love Jihad, Anti Conversion."

Similar laws are already in effect in other BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh.

(With inputs from ANI.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More