Karnataka governor gives assent to anti-conversion ordinance

Bangalore: Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot, on Tuesday, gave his assent to the ordinance that gave effect to the Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, commonly known as the anti-conversion bill.
The bill was passed in the assembly in December last year, but was pending before the Council where the ruling BJP is one short of a majority. The Karnataka government promulgated the Karnataka Protection of Right To Freedom of Religion Ordinance on May 12.
The Governor’s nod came a day after the Bengaluru archbishop Peter Machado along with a Christian delegation called on him requesting him to hold back the ordinance and not to give his approval.
According to the government note, the ordinance is for protection of right to freedom of religion and prohibition of unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means.
“Whereas the Karnataka legislative assembly and the Karnataka legislative council are not in session and the Honourable Governor of Karnataka is satisfied that the circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action to promulgate the Ordinance for the purposes hereinafter appearing,” the gazzette notification read.
The ordinance says that any converted person, his parents, brother, sister or any other person who is related to him by blood, marriage or adoption or in any form associated or colleague may lodge a complaint of such conversion.
The violators will be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term of three years but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine of Rs 25,000. —PTI


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