Terming religious conversion a silent invasion, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday said the menace of conversion should not be allowed to grow in society. "Hindus were often invaded leading to large-scale religious conversions from time to time. If you see people from other religions around us, they were originally Hindus. Besides the geographical invasion, there is religious invasion happening in the country. If geographical invasion happens openly, religious invasion happens slowly," Bommai said during an event organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Seers of various Maths under the banner of VHP and Bajrang Dal organised the event urging the Chief Minister to bring the anti-conversion Bill he had been talking about. According to the VHP sources, the event was organised as a few missionary organisations are opposing the Bill by saying that it was against the Constitution. The Chief Minister said the anti-conversion Bill would be introduced as conversion is a threat to society.
According to Bommai, the attempt to change the cultural background through allurement is unethical and unjust, which is the root of the problem. Religious conversion is not about increasing the strength but to change the mindset. It would have a huge impact on society, hence should not be allowed to grow, the Chief Minister said.
"Initially it is coercion and allurement, then it becomes a disease and later a menace. Our society, State and the nation should not allow this to happen," Bommai told the Seers. Stating that poverty and disabilities are often misused to lure people to change their faith, Bommai said there was a need to bring a law because there is no scope for coercion and allurement in the Indian Constitution. In this regard, a law was needed to stop such practice, he said.
The Chief Minister called upon the Seers, too, to start a social movement against conversion to start identifying and addressing the root-cause of the problem, as Adiguru Shankaracharya did. "The government will do its job but the Seers here have to think about a mega social movement. I have faith in the Seers gathered here. We have to work together to save our religion. We will follow whatever decision you take," Bommai told the gathering.
He claimed that the Congress government in Karnataka had thought of bringing a law banning religious conversion in 2016 but due to vested political interests, they could not do so. Speaking about the proposed anti-conversion Bill his government intends to bring, he said he cannot disclose the content of the matter because the legislature session was in progress. However, he said the process to enact the law was on at different levels.
Bommai had earlier said his government would bring the law and the draft was ready. Any marriage done only to change someone's faith would be declared void, according to the draft. It also says those changing religion should give a prior notice to the district administration at least 60 days in advance, so that an inquiry can be conducted into it whether the change in faith is by choice or by coercion.
-With PTI Inputs