the Hindu nationalist BJP government in the state of Karnataka ignores the bishops and enacts anti-conversion law
Bangaluru, Sept. 29, 2021: The BJP government of Mr. Modi’s party in the southern Indian state of Karnataka ordered the police to stop what they call “forced conversions” of Hindus to the Christian faith.
According to Matters India, the elected head of the state Mr. Basavaraj Bommai on September 28 instructed the district deputy commissioners to be vigilant about the conversions in their jurisdictions and punish those violating the rule.
The order comes five days after a delegation of Catholic bishops met the state governor to express their concern about the misuse of this proposed Anti-Conversion Law in the state.
Father Faustine Lobo, the director of the regional Pastoral Center in Bangalore, says the Catholic Church does not force anyone to convert.
But the Hindu nationalist party and the governments controlled by them argue that providing an education to a child in a Christian school where prayers and devotions are conducted amounts to “forced conversion”.
They also argue that the church is taking advantage of the poor who go to hospitals run by them, to convert people. They say that providing free medical care makes subtle impressions on the people which could lead them to embrace the Christian faith.
“If we really wanted to convert people through our schools or hospitals, we could have done it easily,” the priest told Matters India on September 29. He also challenged the government to prove if any such incidents had been reported.
However, he expressed concern that an anti-conversion law might result in people taking the law into their hands and harassing “Christian workers and our institutions.”
The bishop’s delegation on September 23 was led by Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore.
Archbishop Machado had expressed his concern about this proposed law when “no such forced conversions were happening anywhere in the state, despite the fact that the Catholic Church runs several schools, colleges, hospitals and social service centers in the state of Karnataka.”
In their memorandum, the bishops warned that such a biased law might lead to “tension and unrest in the community.”
However, certain BJP legislators in the BJP-ruled state have been demanding that the state enact an anticonversion law. One state legislator from the Hosadurga district Mr. Goolihatti Shekhar, said that his mother was converted to Christianity falling prey to some inducement from Christian organizations.
So, the elected head of the state said, “we are making a law to prevent such conversions.”
Other states ruled by the BJP such as Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh have already enacted such Anti Conversion Laws.