Bengaluru Archbishop opposes prposed anti-conversion law

He points out that population of Christians has not gone up since Independence

Disputing allegations of “mass conversion” by Christian religious organisations in the country, the Archbishop of Bengaluru Peter Machado said that the population of Christians since Independence has remained the same in the country. He opposed the anti-conversion legislation proposed by the Karnataka Government and argued that it would be used as a tool to harass minorities.

“Since Independence, Christians constitute 1.8% of the population. The Census data is with the Government. Citing a few stray incidents, it is not fair to blame the entire community and an frame anti-conversion law,” he told reporters, expressing his strong opposition to the proposed legislation. He said it was every individual’s Constitutional right to practise and propagate religion in the country.

Expressing fear of attacks and harassment of minority communities if an anti-conversion law comes into effect, he said there was no doubt that it would disrupt peace in society. “Christian institutions run thousands of educational institutions and healthcare centres… But instances of moral policing have been on the rise ever since Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai stated that there would be ‘reaction’ to incidents. We fear that such moral policing is going to increase and attacks on minorities will also increase with the proposed anti-conversion legislation.”

Taking exception to the direction issued by the Backward Classes Welfare Department to conduct a survey of Christian religious institutions, he asked what the need was for such a survey. “The Government has the data and details of the Christian religious institutions with it. What is the objective behind the survey? If a survey is required, why is it targeting only Christian organisations?” he asked.

He urged the Backward Classes Welfare Department to withdraw the circular ordering the survey.

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