Bengaluru: An Anti-conversion law is the hot topic in Karnataka for the time being with the BJP government reported to have drafted a Bill, reportedly including stringent laws to discourage any kind of religious conversions, which is to be tabled in the next Assembly session in Belagavi.
The drafted bill called the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill 2021 has recommended ten years of imprisonment for those who are involved in the forced religious conversion of persons belonging to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe communities, minors and women while a jail of term of 3 to 5 and a fine of Rs 25,000 have been proposed for people from general category who are found guilty of violating the rule.
Experts are of the opinion that the draft bill has tricky parts by which a person and persons involved in the process of religious conversion can be intimidated or booked by inferring these parts to the notions of authorities.
According to the draft, no person shall convert or attempt to convert either directly or otherwise any other person from one religion to another by use of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage, nor shall any person abet or conspire for conversions.
Any of the above-mentioned parts can be invoked against the person who is converted and persons who are involved in the process of conversion under the law. Besides, a case can be registered against a person who wishes to convert to another religion by his or her family members or any other person related to the person who is getting converted if the person has not followed the due process laid down in the draft.
The Bill also mandates on the person who is wishing to convert religion to give two-month advance notice to the district magistrate and the person and person under whose direction the religious conversion is taking place shall give notice of the same before a month. The conversion will only be validated after an enquiry report by the magistrate who can direct police to obtain the details related to the conversion.
Violation of the set rules for the conversion will also land the person who is converting in jail for three years and one-year imprisonment for the persons who carry out the conversion. The proposed law also requires the person who gets converted to inform the district magistrate of the conversion within 30 days of conversion and must appear before the DM to confirm identity. Not informing the DM will lead to the conversion being declared null and void.