Tension prevailed in Karnataka’s Hubballi after a complaint against 15 people over alleged religious conversion. The accused include a few pastors and a history sheeter. The case came to light when a man alleged that his wife was forcing him to convert to Christianity and refusing to live with him.
When he couldn’t handle the pressure from his wife, he brought the matter to the notice of community leaders.
Complainant Sampath told reporters that the pastors had come to his in-laws’ house and asked them to attend prayers. He also charged that the missionaries have been targeting his community to convert them into Christians.
Members of the Shikkaligar community gathered outside the Old Hubballi police station demanding action against the Christian missionaries who were allegedly involved in converting people. They were also joined by Hindu activists.
When NDTV spoke to Hubballi police, they said “An FIR is yet to be registered against the pastors for forceful conversion as the complainants who are members of the community did not turn up for an initial dialogue.”
The controversial anti-conversion bill was passed in September this year by the upper house in Karnataka, despite opposition from the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular. The Opposition argued that such a law will infringe on the freedom of religion granted in the Constitution. However, the government which passed the bill in the assembly in 2015 countered that the law would only protect people from forcible conversion, claiming it is becoming increasingly frequent.
The law prohibits unlawful religious conversion. Those violating the law will get a jail term of three to five years and be fined Rs 25,000. In case of conversion of a minor, the punishment may extend up to ten years and the fine will be Rs 50,000. In case of mass conversion, a fine of Rs 1 lakh can be imposed. A repeat offender can be fined up to Rs 2 lakh and a get jail term of a minimum of five years.
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