India’s Karnataka State Passes controversial anti-conversion law
According to The Indian Express, the Legislative Assembly of India’s Karnataka state have passed the contentious anti-conversion bill that was proposed earlier this week. If enacted, the bill would become one of the strictest anti-conversion laws in India.
Last Thursday, the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka passed The Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill,2021, commonly called an anti-conversion law. According to the provisions of this bill, the state government would regulate all religious conversions and criminalize what it would term forced religious conversions. The law will now be sent to the council for final approval and enactment.
“The bill that Karnataka tabled today is one of the harshest among similar laws,” Dr. John Dayal, a prominent Christian activist in India, told International Christian Concern (ICC) earlier this week. “The major concern is the bill’s provision to jail those who indulge in mass conversions for a term from three to ten years.”
“The law is nothing but a weapon in the hands of hate mobs,” a local pastor from Karnataka, who wished to remain anonymous, told ICC. “This is a legal cover for those who harass and intimidate Christians.”
In states where similar anti-conversion laws are currently enacted, including Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, they are widely abused. Radical Hindu nationalists falsely accuse Christians of forcefully converting individuals to Christianity to justify harassment and assault. Local police often overlook violence perpetrated against Christians due to false accusations of forced conversion.