Anti-conversion bill: Karnataka official transferred after survey debunks government claims of forced conversionstext_fields
The tehsildar whose survey raised questions over a Karnataka MLA's claims of widespread forced conversions to Christianity in the state has been transferred with no reason provided in an order issued on December 15. Y Thippeswamy, tehsildar of Hosadurga Taluk, said he had not requested a transfer and that the decision was solely made by the government.
The move comes in the backdrop of a stringent anti-conversion bill that is being discussed by the Winter Assembly of the legislative assembly, which has the backing of prominent Hindutva leaders in the state including those from the Shri Ram Sene and Bajrang Dal.
Thippeswamy's survey was conducted to identify forced conversions in Karnataka's Chitradurga and was ordered on October 4 by the Hosadurga Tehsildar after Goolihatti Shekar, the BJP MLA representing the constituency, alleged that his mother was forcefully converted to Christianity. "15,000 - 20,000" people in the area had been converted, the MLA claimed.
While social media was rife with claims that poor SC/ST families were being lured to convert via promises of money, the survey found that only 8 people in the area had converted to Christianity and that they had subsequently reconverted to Hinduism. The rest of the believers were voluntarily worshipping in churches, the report concluded.
"We cannot initiate any action because none of them have complained to us saying that they were being tormented or forced to convert to Christianity. Only in such cases can action be taken," Thippeswamy told The News Minute.
Attacks on Christians have also been reported in Balagavi where the Assembly is taking place, and Christians had been warned not to worship in public spaces according to reports.
Bangalore Archbishop Reverend Peter Machado wrote several missives in protest against the Karnataka government s surveying of churches in the state as well as the proposed anti-conversion bill which he said violated minority rights.
"An anti-conversion law will become a tool for fringe elements to take law into their own hands and vitiate the atmosphere with communal unrest in the otherwise peaceful state," The Archbishop said in his letter to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai last month.