Karnataka To Scrap BJP Government’s Anti-Conversion Law

Karnataka To Scrap BJP Government’s Anti-Conversion Law

The changes approved by the Karnataka cabinet today also included history syllabus in schools and a law on agricultural markets, said Law & Parliamentary Affairs minister HK Patil

India News Reported by Sreeja M S, Edited by Anindita Sanyal


The Congress government led by Siddaramaiah has decided to scrap the law against religious conversion — meeting its promise of reviewing and if necessary, scrapping all the laws made by the previous BJP government in Karnataka. The changes approved by the state cabinet today also included history syllabus in schools and even a law on agricultural markets, said HK Patil, the state’s Law & Parliamentary Affairs minister, after the cabinet meeting.

The law against religious conversion through coercion, misrepresentation, or allurement, adopted by many BJP-ruled states, was introduced in Karnataka through an Ordinance or executive order in May last year.  A bill to replace it was later introduced in the state assembly in September.

The law became a flashpoint between the BJP and the Congress The opposition party contended that it was a tool for harassment of minorities.

“Our law is capable of stopping conversion that is forced through incentives and threats. Then what is the need for a new law? The only reason is to threaten and harass minorities,” Mr Siddaramaiah had told the media last year.

The matter even went to court, where Christian organisations argued that the new law violated the religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.

Mr Patil also said the Cabinet has decided to remove the chapters on VD Savarkar and KB Hedgewar, one of the founders of the BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, from school history books. The chapters were added last year.

Along with it, all changes in school syllabus made by the BJP government have also been reversed.

The Cabinet has also decided to make it compulsory to read the Preamble of the Constitution along with the hymn in schools and colleges, Mr Patil said.

The Cabinet has also decided to introduce a new law on agricultural markets (APMC) that will replace the one enacted when the BJP was in power.

Last month, after the Congress won a landslide mandate in Karnataka, the party made it clear that the new government intends to review policies of the previous BJP government. If found regressive or against the interest of the state, they would be “set right”, it said, raising speculation that decisions on the Muslim quota, hijab ban and the anti-conversion law were due for a rollback.

Asked if it would not backfire on the government, minister Priyank Kharge, the son of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, pointed out that the Congress had won a massive mandate, which it would not have had the people supported these policies.

source : https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/karnataka-to-scrap-anti-conversion-law-introduced-by-previous-bjp-government-4123521/amp/1

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