Conversions not forced, Karnataka calls off survey

BENGALURU: Just a month after a Karnataka legislative committee ordered a survey of churches in Karnataka, which drew opposition from the Christian community, the tehsildar of a taluk in Chitradurga district conducted an inquiry into complaints of forced conversion of Hindus to Christianity in October.

Sources said based on the complaints, the tehsildar of Hosadurga taluk ordered a survey in two villages — Devipura Bhovihatti and Marutinagar. However, the inquiry showed there was no substance in the allegations as the families confirmed they had converted to the new faith of their own volition.

Tehsildar Thippeswamy told TOI that officials spoke to 12 families in Bhovihatti and 34 families in Marutinagar. “Since the families claimed they had wilfully converted to Christianity, we decided to call off our survey,” he said. He said Christian families claimed their conversion was on account of “a string of health issues and other constraints that drew them to Christianity”. “These families say they are in a much better place now and believe the new faith is the reason for their wellbeing,” he added.

Hosadurga BJP MLA Goolihatti Shekar, who had raised the issue of forced religious conversions in the legislative assembly on September 21 and alleged that his 72-year-old mother had converted to Christianity, denied that any survey had been ordered. “There was no survey. Based on a complaint, there was an inquiry by the government,” he said.

Expressing resentment against the church survey, Bangalore Archbishop Rev Peter Machado had written to CM Basavaraj Bommai thrice to abandon the idea and the move to bring in an anti-conversion law.

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