Karnataka Chief Minister (CM) Basavaraj Bommai, on Wednesday, 29 December said that a Special Task Force will be set up to implement the anti-Conversion Bill (Karnataka Protection of Right to Religion Bill, 2021) in the state.
At a state executive meeting in Hubli, the CM also added that a separate bill is in under works wherein all temples will be freed from State control. The bill will be presented in the next Cabinet meeting.
Bommai said, “Based on the advice of senior leaders, we are going to take a historic decision. Temples who have suffered under the hands of officers and bureaucrats will be freed. They will from now look after their own development. Except for regulation.”
The Karnataka Protection of Right to Religion Bill, 2021 was passed in the Assembly on 23 December, despite mounting criticism from several quarters in the state. The Bill seeks to prohibit conversion from one religion to another by means that it lists as fraudulent.
The Bill provides for the imposition of stringent punishment for violators of the anti-conversion law, with different sentences for persons belonging to the general category and those involved in converting persons belonging to the Scheduled Caste or Schedule Tribe categories.
Rights activists, citizens and the opposition in the state, have, however, criticised the Bill, calling it "unconstitutional" and "a tool to embolden fringe groups".