Bengaluru: The Karnataka assembly witnessed dramatic events following the introduction of the controversial Anti-Conversion bill, during which Congress MLA DK Sivakumar teared up the bill. The Congress alleged that they had no clue about the introduction of the bill today and it was ‘unconstitutional’ for the ruling BJP to introduce it without informing the opposition by placing it on the agenda.
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra introduced the bill soon after lunch break, as the Congress leaders were walking into the assembly, which led to furious arguments between the opposition and the ruling BJP. Questioning how the bill was not part of the agenda for discussion, the leader of the opposition- Congress party leader Siddaramaiah pointed out that it violates the Article 25 of the Constitution. Law Minister JC Madhuswamy asserted that the bill was introduced as per the procedure, and claimed that it was added as a part of the supplementary agenda.
The bill is similar to other anti-conversion bills passed by other BJP ruled states, which bars religious conversion through employment, allurement or marriage, which are seen as forcible conversion. The penalties range from three years to ten years in jail. The bill also places multiple obstacles before those seeking to convert. The bill was introduced just a day after the cabinet gave clearance to the draft. The opposition has called the bill ‘unconstitutional’, arguing that it violates freedom of religion as guaranteed under the constitution and also ‘victimizes’ the minority community.