Karnataka Cabinet Approves Anti-Conversion Bill, To Be Tabled In Next Session

NEW DELHI: In a significant development, the Karnataka cabinet approved the anti-conversion bill on Thursday, news agency ANI reported. The bill will now be tabled in the next session of the state assembly until the ordinance is in place, said Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra.

Ahead of the cabinet meeting, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said his government would implement the move by ordinance. It was earlier reported that the State Home Ministry drafted a memo which was circulated during the Karnataka Cabinet meeting today. The memo pleads for the promotion of the Karnataka Religious Freedom Protection Bill through the Ordinance.

It is believed that the legal department said in its opinion that there were no legal obstacles to carrying out the bill by order.

The bill proposes a prison sentence of 3 to 5 years with a fine of Rs 25,000 for “forced” conversion. Conversion of a minor, female or SC/ST person will result in a prison term of 3 to 10 years, with a fine of Rs 50,000. Mass conversions will result in 3 to 10 years in prison, with a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.

However, Karnataka Congress Speaker DK Shivakumar said the opposition would oppose the bill in the assembly.

The Karnataka Assembly had, in December last year, passed the Religious Freedom Protection Bill, 2021 with a voice vote.

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