Updated: December 23, 2021 5:55:53 pm
Leader of Opposition and former chief minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah on Thursday said that the anti-conversion bill introduced by the BJP government in the state is identical to those of states like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
In the Winter Session of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in Belagavi, Siddaramaiah argued that there was no necessity to introduce the bill as section 295 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) already protects from conversion with malafide intentions.
“The bill is very much identical to those tabled in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. To an extent that the wordings have also remained the same,” said Siddaramaiah. He expressed his suspicion that the same set of people might have drafted all these bills.
The controversial Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill 2021, commonly known as the anti-conversion bill, was tabled on Tuesday and it was taken up for discussion on Thursday.
While Karnataka is the ninth state to table such a bill, Siddaramaiah said that it may end up getting a stay from the court, like how it had happened in Gujarat.
Earlier, in the morning session, the BJP took a jibe at Congress stating that the anti-conversion bill was the brainchild of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government. State Minister of Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Legislation J C Madhuswamy said that a draft was prepared by the law commission of Karnataka and was sent for the cabinet’s approval. However, it never appeared before the cabinet for discussion. He said that they had just taken it forward from where the Siddaramaiah-led government left off.
Siddaramaiah countered him questioning the intention of the BJP government. He said that there is a lot of difference between the present proposed bill and the draft prepared during his time. He stated that article 12 of the proposed bill puts the burden of proof on the accused and not on the prosecution, while in the proposed draft during his government, it was on the prosecution.
He also said that article 2 of the proposed bill on conversion by marriage was not part of the draft prepared during his regime.
Siddaramiah also attacked BJP and RSS during his speech stating that both of them are in the process of creating a narrative that the Hindu population is shrinking and conversion is happening. “According to the census data available, Hindu and Muslim populations have increased while Christian population has shrunk.”
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the law has been created to prevent the abuse of vulnerable sections of society and is in the interest of all the communities and not intended to target any religion.
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