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Bengaluru Archbishop Opposes Bill On Conversion, Writes To Chief Minister

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on November 19, 2021 with No Comments

Calling the proposed law “undesirable” and “discriminatory”, the Archbishop insisted: “The entire Christian community in Karnataka opposes the proposal in one voice.”

An anti-conversion bill, which is likely to be tabled in the Karnataka Assembly next month, could “become a tool for the fringe elements to take law into their own hands and vitiate the atmosphere with communal unrest in the otherwise peaceful state,” Bengaluru Archbishop Reverend Peter Machado said today in a letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

Calling the proposed law “undesirable” and “discriminatory”, the Archbishop insisted: “The entire Christian community in Karnataka opposes the proposal in one voice and questions the need for such an exercise when sufficient laws and court directives are in place to monitor any aberration of the existing laws.”

He also protested an order on “a survey of both official and non-official Christian Missionaries functioning in the state, the collection of data from their Churches, institutions, and establishments”.

“When all the relevant data is already available (through the census) with the government, why do we need yet another futile exercise? Why only the Christian community is targeted and marked for this arbitrary, fallacious and illogical move?” the Archbishop asked.

The Chief Minister had last week told reporters that his government is “studying related laws enacted by other states and soon an anti-conversion legislation will be formulated”, news agency PTI reported.

In September, he had said that the state was considering the law as “several incidents (of forced conversion) had been reported”. “Couple of days ago I gave appropriate directions to district administrations to not allow any religious conversion through inducement or by force, as it is illegal,” he had said.

Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh are some of the BJP-ruled states that already have laws against forced religious conversion in place.

In his letter, however, the Archbishop said “such laws would infringe the rights of the citizens, especially of the minority communities”.

“Thousands of schools, colleges, and hospitals are run and managed by the Christian community across the state. When lakhs of students are graduating from these institutions year after year and thousands of patients irrespective of caste, creed and colour receive the best medical attention from our hospitals and care centers, let the government prove that even one of them has ever been influenced. compelled or coerced to change his or her religion,” the letter read.

 

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