Bommai’s anti-conversion bill “is a disgrace to secular principles,” Archbishop says

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From our special correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

Bangalore, December 4: Anti-conversion bill due to be introduced in Belagavi session of the interim legislature from December 13 “is a disgrace for secular principles set forth in India’s constitution,” Archbishop of Bangalore said , Bishop Peter Machado, in a statement on Saturday.

The Archbishop, who is the chairman of the Karnataka Regional Council of Catholic Bishops and chairman of the All-Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights, called on all secular sections to raise a united voice on this law dangerous and said it was best to anticipate community violence before it. really takes place.

He demanded that the state government not table the bill.

The Archbishop stressed that the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues have repeatedly reiterated that the state government will table the anti-conversion bill, during the next winter session of the Assembly in Belagavi.

“The entire Christian community in Karnataka is united in opposing the proposed anti-conversion bill and questions the need for such an exercise when enough laws and judicial guidelines are in place to monitor any aberration of existing laws, ”Archbishop Machado said.

He pointed out that BJP deputy from Hosadurgain Chitradurga district Goolihatti Shekhar during the recent monsoon session of the Karnataka Assembly, claimed religious conversions “by force or incitement” and was “rampant” throughout. State.

The MP also claimed that 15,000 to 20,000 people, including his own mother, had been converted to Christianity in his constituency, the archbishop said.

He pointed out that Hosadurgataluk Tahsildar has investigated the allegations made by MPP Goolihatti Shekhar, and the result of the investigation stated that there had been no such attempted forced conversions and that those who did converts to Christianity did so of their own free will. and conviction.

“If there had been runaway conversions, as the MLA and others claim, the Christian population, both in the state and in the nation, should have increased. But the facts and figures indicate that the hustle and bustle orchestrated over religious conversion is nothing but a futile exaggeration, ” the Archbishop said.

According to the state government’s own data and the Indian census, the percentage of the Christian population across India in the country in 2001 was 2.34% and in 2011 it fell to 2, 30%, the same in Karnataka, the situation is no different.

The statistics give a clear picture that the Christian population in the state of Karnataka, at the 2001 census, stood at 1.91 percent, while it declined significantly to 1.87 percent in 2011.

According to media reports, the Karnataka anti-conversion bill will be ready by December 5, to be tabled in the next session of the legislature which begins on December 13.

Here are some serious issues of concern to the community:

1. The anti-conversion bill mainly targets minorities. All minorities and secular sections will have to raise a united voice against this.
2. The first anti-conversion law was passed in Orissa in 1967. Attacks against Christians started from the 1970s, culminating in the Kandamal genocide in 2007 and 2008.
The law provided justification for attacks against Christians: Assemblies of God, Baptist Church, Eastern Church of Believers, Roman Catholic Church, Church of South India, FCC0, Syrian Jacobite Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church, Malankara Orthodox Church, Syrian Church Marthoma, Methodist Church and Seventh-day Adventists.
3. After Odisha, the anti-conversion law was passed in 6 other states of India. There was little resistance to such an undemocratic law. As a result, attacks against Christians have increased in all of these states.
4. Today there is sufficient documentation to show that the persecution of Christians is taking place in every state and Union territory in India. The proposed law will only make the situation worse.
5. The question of forced conversion is a very exaggerated subject. Many of our BJP leaders have studied in Christian schools and have also chosen Christian hospitals for medical treatment. None of them were forcibly converted.
6. In Kandamal, forced conversions took place by Hindutva forces pacing the necks of Adivasi Christians and Dalit Christians.
They were forcibly converted to Hinduism. The culprits are not punished despite the anti-conversion law. All of the victims still attend church and believe in their original faith, despite the use of force in 2008. Faith is deeply personal and cannot be forced.
7. In the event of forced conversion, this Act under the Indian Constitution is more than sufficient to deal with such situations. No additional law is necessary.
8. The Anti-Conversion Law is a violation of the fundamental foundations of the Indian Constitution. It violates many articles of the Indian Constitution. Even Ambedkar, who was the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, had converted to Buddhism without state permission.
9. The anti-conversion law is a disgrace to the secular principles set forth in the Indian Constitution. All secular sections should raise their united voice on this dangerous law. It is best to anticipate community violence before it actually happens.
10. The rushed adoption process of such a law is itself flawed. The Karnataka government says the bill will be ready on December 5 and will be tabled in the legislature session starting in December.
11. So where is the time and space for a public discussion? In such crucial questions, in a democracy, no bill should be allowed to be introduced without proper public discourse. The bill should not be allowed to be introduced.


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