Religious leaders in India have joined calls for the withdrawal of the controversial anti-conversion bill, which was earlier approved in the country’s Karnataka state.
Catholic Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore called on the state to reconsider and withdraw the bill, which he said is harmful to not only Christians but also to many other communities.
In a report on Matters India, the prelate was quoted saying that many laws already exist to prevent forced conversions.
He said the Christian community has always served the country and its poor and forced conversions “are a mortal sin for us.”
Yousuf Kunhi, head of the Muslim Jamaat-e-Islami in Karnataka, said those who supported the bill would be going against the teaching of their founder Basavanna.
He also asked the supporters of the bill in the Assembly to resign because they won the elections on the basis of the Constitution and promised development, progress and communal harmony.
“If they cannot deliver on these promises, they have no right to continue in office,” he said.
The Karnataka Cabinet led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai approved the draft of the bill on December 20, five days ahead of Christmas.
The state government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has been pressing for the bill despite protests from various Christian leaders, including Catholic bishops.
Full story on Matters India