According to Minister H K Patil, the Karnataka Cabinet decided on Thursday to abolish the anti-conversion law enacted by the previous BJP administration. Karnataka Law Minister HK Patil told reporters, “The Bill brought by the BJP in 2022, will be repealed, and the Bill which we are bringing will be in accordance with the Constitution.”
Congress had pledged to repeal the anti-conversion law during the election campaign if elected to power. According to the legislation, it is forbidden to change one’s religion by the use of “force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or by promise of marriage.”
For violations of the sections relating to minors, women, and SC/ST, offenders will face imprisonment for three to 10 years and a fine of at least Rs 50,000, while the anti-conversion law had recommended imprisonment for three to five years with a fine of Rs 25,000.
The crime was both cognisable and non-bailable. The BJP government enacted the bill on May 17, 2022, against the protests of the Congress, JD(S), and other opposition parties.
It had stipulated that anyone who wishes to convert to a different faith must submit a declaration in the required format to the District Magistrate or Additional District Magistrate of his or her district of residence or place of birth within the state at least 30 days in advance.
Along with the anti-conversion law, Keshav Baliram Hedgewar lectures will no longer be taught in schools in Karnataka, according to the Siddaramaiah-led administration. School Education and Literacy Minister Madhu Bangaprappa said that scrapping the revisions made to the textbooks under the BJP government was a manifesto promise of the Congress.
He added the changes recommended will be compiled in a supplementary textbook of around 10-15 pages and distributed among students. Among the lessons that the Congress government has included again are a chapter on social reformer Savitribai Phule, a poem on Dr B R Ambedkar and a chapter on a letter written by Jawaharlal Nehru to his daughter Indira Gandhi.