The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka has chosen to repeal the law prohibiting religious conversion, keeping its vow to review and, if necessary, repeal all laws passed by the previous BJP administration. According to HK Patil, the state’s minister of law and parliamentary affairs, the reforms adopted by the state cabinet today also included a legislation on agricultural markets and the history curriculum in schools.
The law prohibiting forced, false, or enticing conversion to another religion was implemented in Karnataka by an ordinance or executive order in May of last year and has since been adopted by numerous BJP-ruled states. Later, in September, a bill to replace it was presented in the state assembly.
The law turned into a subject of contention between the BJP and the Congress It was claimed by the opposition party that it was a weapon for harassing minorities.
“Our law has the power to prevent forced conversion that is motivated by rewards and threats. So why is a new legislation necessary? The only motivation, according to Mr. Siddaramaiah, is to harass and threaten minorities.
Even in court, Christian organisations contended that the new law infringed the constitutional right to freedom of religion.
The chapters on VD Savarkar and KB Hedgewar, one of the founders of the BJP’s ideological forebear Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, have been decided to be removed from school history books, according to Mr. Patil. Last year, the chapters were added.
Along with it, the BJP government also revoked all modifications to the educational curricula.
According to Mr. Patil, the Cabinet also resolved to mandate that the Preamble of the Constitution be read in schools and institutions along with the song.
The Cabinet has also resolved to replace the agricultural markets law (APMC) that was passed when the BJP was in office with a new one.
After the Congress won a resounding victory in Karnataka last month, the party made it clear that the incoming administration will be reviewing the BJP-led administration’s policies. It implied that judgements like the Muslim quota, the ban on the hijab, and the anti-conversion statute were due for a rollback and promised to be “set right” if proven to be retroactive or against the interests of the state.
Minister Priyank Kharge, the son of Mallikarjun Kharge, the head of the Congress, responded that the Congress had won a huge mandate, which it would not have had if the public had supported these measures, when asked if it would not backfire on the government.