March 21, 2023

assembly: Karnataka assembly OKs anti-conversion bill | India News – Times of India

BELAGAVI: The Karnataka legislative assembly on Thursday passed a controversial anti-conversion bill amid a din and day-long debate by the opposition parties. The bill is aimed at curbing illegal religious conversions.
The Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, introduced in the assembly on Tuesday, was passed by voice vote even as Congress members protested from the well of the House demanding more time for debate on the legislation.
The government is likely to introduce the bill in the legislative council, where BJP does not have a majority, on Friday, the last day of the session. After assessing the chances of the bill passi-ng, sources said the party may table the bill or refrain from doing so for now.
State home minister Araga Jnanendra, who piloted the bill in the assembly, said the law was not against any religion and eight states had already passed similar legislation. To secure easy passage of the bill, the BJP government counted on its majority in the Assembly and a Congress caught off guard after BJP placed documents to support its claims that the bill was first initiated by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in 2016.
Though opposition leader Siddaramaiah admitted that he as CM had only asked for the draft bill to be placed before the cabinet, no decision had been taken in this regard.
Later, Siddaramaiah also claimed that the law commission prepared the draft bill based on the direction of the previous BJP government.
BJP does not have a majority in the legislative council and has to depend on a tacit understanding with JD(S) to see the bill through. The regional party has bailed out the BJP government in passing other contentious bills, like the land reforms and APMC bills, in this session. It is expected that JD(S), while opposing the anti-conversion bill, may stage a walkout from the House, helping BJP complete the formalities.

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