Peter Machado, Archbishop, Bangalore | Photo credit: ANI
- “The anti-conversion bill proposed by the government of Karnataka would affect religious harmony,” said Archbishop of Bangalore, Reverend Peter Machado.
- He added that Karnataka is a “very mature and developed state”
- The Archbishop stressed that “random and sporadic incidents should not be referred to the whole Christian community in a bad light”
Bangalore: Archbishop Dr Peter Machado, the seventh archbishop of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, urged Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday to drop his plans to introduce the “anti-conversion” bill.
The Archbishop further expressed his fear that fringe elements would use the law to their advantage and spoil the atmosphere in the state.
He also requested that the alleged order from the Department of Social Welfare of Backward Classes and Minorities to the administration and police intelligence services to carry out an investigation into religious personnel and places of worship, institutions and establishments belonging only to the Christian community be withdrawn.
“We fail to understand the compelling need for such a decision … However, if the government wishes to conduct an investigation in this way, so do it. But why only the Christian community is being targeted and branded for this arbitrary, fallacious and illogical decision “When all the relevant data is already available from central and state governments, why do we need another futile exercise? ” He asked.
The Archbishop added that “the entire Christian community of Karnataka opposes the proposal (for the anti-conversion bill) with one voice and questions the need for such an exercise when sufficiently laws and judicial guidelines are in place to monitor any deviations from existing laws. “.
According to him, such laws would violate the rights of citizens, especially minority communities, as he cited article 25 and article 26 of the Constitution. Moreover, the anti-conversion bill would be misused by fringe elements to incite community unrest in an otherwise peaceful state, the archbishop added.
“Random and sporadic incidents should not be referred to the entire Christian community in a bad light,” Machado stressed.
He further noted that there are thousands of schools, colleges and hospitals run and managed by the Christian community that provide health care and education to thousands of these people. The archbishop asked the government to provide evidence if even one of these people was forced to change their religion.
“Nonetheless, if the government is still determined to bring forward the ‘anti-conversion’ bill, we fear that it will fall into the hands of unwanted elements and fringe groups who will target the Christian community and attack our churches and our churches. institutions. It is sure to vitiate and bring communal conflagration and disturb the peace in society, “he added.
Recently, Karnataka’s Chief Minister Bommai said the government was considering introducing a law against religious conversion, either by force or incitement in the state.
Karnataka’s Interior Minister Araga Jnanendra told the legislature on September 21 that the government was considering enacting a law to regulate religious conversion. In particular, the deputy BJP of Hosadurga Goolihatti Shekhar had affirmed that his mother had converted to Christianity by seduction.
BJP-ruled states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh have laws to control forced religious conversion.