Congress Government In Karnataka To Reverse Controversial BJP-Era Reforms: Anti-Conversion Law, APMC Act, And Textbook Changes Targeted
The Karnataka Congress government has stated that it intends to overturn some changes that the state’s former BJP administration made to important laws and regulations. The Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, the anti-conversion statute, and contentious modifications to school textbooks are among these reforms.
The Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act modifications, according to Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil, would be repealed during the upcoming session of the state legislature, which will start on July 5. Minority organizations and the Congress party had sharply criticized the law, calling it unconstitutional. The Act stipulates that those found guilty of illegal conversions could receive three to five years in prison and a fine of Rs 25,000. The criminal may get a sentence of up to 10 years in jail in circumstances involving kids, women, or SC/ST community members.
Additionally, the administration has decided to make daily recitation of the Constitution’s preamble a requirement in all schools. H C Mahadevappa, the minister of social welfare, declared that a picture of the preamble will be displayed in every government building. A lesson written by right-wing orator Chakravarthy Soolibele and lessons relating to Hindutva icons V D Savarkar and RSS founder K B Hedgewar was also cleared for removal by the cabinet. The restoration of the original textbooks, without the amendments made by the previous BJP government, was a pledge made in the Congress party’s campaign, according to School Education and Literacy Minister Madhu Bangaprappa.
Minister of Textiles and Agricultural Marketing Shivanand Patil emphasized that the BJP government’s changes to the APMC Act harmed farmers and companies. According to him, APMC profits fell sharply from Rs 620 crore in 2019–20 to Rs 194 crore in 2022–23. According to the minister, the goal of repealing these modifications is to enable the APMCs to operate and perform as they did in the past.
Controversy has been sparked by the news of the repeal and the possible introduction of the anti-conversion bill. In response to worries expressed by his party members about suspected forced religious conversions in the state, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced during the Belagavi session that his government intended to introduce the measure. The draught of the anti-conversion bill is being created, and it would be tabled in the upcoming session, according to Home Minister Araga Jnanendra.
The choice, though, has encountered pushback from several sources. Fr. Peter Machado, the Archbishop of Bengaluru, has penned three letters to Chief Minister Bommai pleading with him not to introduce the proposed anti-conversion bill. The Christian community opposes the legislation and disputes its necessity, claiming that there are already laws and court orders in place to deal with any infractions.
In conclusion, the anti-conversion law, the APMC Act, and school textbook revisions implemented by the former BJP government in Karnataka are set to be repealed by the current Congress administration. The action intends to allay worries about the validity of the laws, safeguard minority communities’ rights, restore the operation of APMCs, and update the curriculum following the party’s platform commitments. However, discussions and criticism from diverse groups have been generated by the planned anti-conversion bill and other legislative reforms.