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News Bishops Council Opposes the Indian state of Karnataka’s religious anti-conversion bill

Bishops Council Opposes the Indian state of Karnataka’s religious anti-conversion bill

The Council also expressed its reservations over a survey of official and non-official Christian missionaries

The Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops Council has opposed the state government’s proposal to introduce an ‘Anti-Conversion Bill’, cautioning that the move could precipitate “uncontrolled communal conflagrations” in the state.

“Since independence, there has been hardly any increase in the number of Christians and it (the Bill) is all made out to suit the political agenda of some political parties,” the Council said in a memorandum to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

The Council also expressed its reservations over a survey of official and non-official Christian missionaries ordered by the Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare Department. “If a survey is to be conducted, we demand that all communities be surveyed as well,” the Council said.

The memorandum comes close on the heels of announcements made by Bommai and other ministers on the state government mulling an anti-conversion Bill after Hosadurga MLA Goolihatti Shekar’s allegations about religious conversions. Recently, the legislature panel asked for a survey on churches in the state and an order to this effect was issued.

“If the bill is passed in the Assembly and translated into a law, we fear that it will give way for large-scale uncontrolled communal conflagrations,” the Council said, adding such a bill will only cause “more harm than good”.

“Fringe elements and communal forces will be let loose and take law into their own hands….. We once again reiterate that the Christian community does not encourage forced conversions and bring to your notice that we continue to register our firm opposition to the proposed bill.”

On the survey ordered to assess official and non-official Christian missionaries, the Council argued that the Christian community was accused of being guilty of a serious crime. “Sporadic and insignificant incidents of conversion should not form the basis of maligning the entire community in a bad light,” the memorandum stated.

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