Karnataka govt mulls law against conversion after BJP MLA says his mom embraced Christianity

News Network
September 21, 2021

Bengaluru, Sept 21: Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra told the Legislative Assembly that the government is considering a law to regulate religious conversions after a BJP legislator said his mother had become a Christian due to inducements.

Hosadurga legislator Goolihatti Shekhar, raising the issue during zero hour, said “forced” religious conversions are rampant in the state.

“My mother has been converted by a Christian. She was brainwashed into not keeping vermilion on her forehead, abandoning idol worship and so on. Even her phone’s ringtone is a Christian song,” he said. “This has caused much embarrassment in the family.”

Apparently, nearly 20,000 people in his constituency have become Christians this way. “Before the anti-superstition law came, Hindus in rural areas would go to local deities to find cures for illnesses. That has stopped now. But Christian missionaries offer inducements by offering cure and other benefits,” he said.

Shekhar said Dalits, OBCs and even Muslims are being converted. “I agree that everybody is free to follow the faith of their choice. But if someone takes up Christianity, that person should forego SC/ST benefits,” he said. 

Former Speaker KG Bopaiah said religious conversion was “a serious problem” across the state, especially in SC/ST colonies. “We need an Uttar Pradesh-like law against religious conversions.”

Nagthan MLA Devanand Fulasing Chavan said Vijayapura is home to 3.5 lakh people belonging to the Banjara community. “Churches are coming up and people are being converted in tandas, which is leading to the division of the community,” he said.

In his reply, Jnanendra said the government is aware of religious conversions taking place. “It’s a punishable offence to get people to convert into a religion by way of inducement. There’s a widespread network not just in the state, but across the country. Should we introduce a Bill or do something else...we are discussing how to curb this,” he said.

The minister said conversions take place to add to the tally of a particular community. “It’s one thing for a person to voluntarily adopt a religion. But, offering a cure for illness or misusing religion in other ways is not right. This could also lead to communal disharmony,” he said.

Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri nudged the government to consider bringing in a law for this. “Other states have brought a law. Maybe it’ll help if that’s done here, too,” he said.

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News Network
October 19,2021

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Bengaluru, Oct 19: Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar, who retracted an "uncivil" tweet made by his party on Monday, has demanded an apology from his BJP counterpart Nalin Kumar Kateel for calling former AICC chief Rahul Gandhi a "drug addict and peddler". 

While speaking at an event in Hubballi, Kateel claimed his remarks on Rahul were based on media reports. Congress leaders, however, condemned the statement, asking the BJP to sack Kateel. 

"Yesterday I said I believe we should be civil and respectful in politics, even to our opponents. I hope the BJP agrees with me and will apologise for their state president’s abusive and unparliamentary remarks against Shri Rahul Gandhi," Shivakumar said in a tweet. 

Kateel's remarks came as an apparent strike against Congress for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi "#HebbettuGiraakiModi" which translates into the belittling Hindi expression ‘angootha chhaap’ for an illiterate person. 

Shivakumar regretted the tweet and said it was posted by a "novice social media manager". Shivakumar added that he always believed that civil and parliamentary language was non-negotiable in political discourse and that the tweet was "regretted and withdrawn."

Meanwhile, condemning Kateel's statement, AICC general secretary Dinesh Gundu Rao demanded that BJP remove Kateel from the post.

"Being a party president, he should not make such baseless statements and stoop to this level. It is shameful that a person with such a mentality is the state president of a national party," Rao said, calling Kateel "senseless" and as someone who had lost his "mental balance". 

Lashing out at the ruling party, Rao further alleged that BJP was a corrupt party both financially and morally. "They have no principles. They take God's name for ulterior political motives," he said. 

He urged Chief Minister Bommai to take control of what his party leaders were speaking. 

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News Network
October 28,2021

Mumbai, Oct 28: Kiran Gosavi, the elusive NCB witness in the drugs-on-cruise matter, has been detained in Pune, city commissioner Amitabh Gupta said.

Gosavi, said to be a "private investigator" whose photos and videos with Aryan Khan went viral on social media after the NCB's raid on the cruise ship off the Mumbai coast, has been called an "independent witness" by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), which is probing the drugs case in which nearly 20 people, including Aryan Khan have been arrested so far.

"Prabhakar Sail is lying. All I want to request is his CDR report must be released. My CDR report or chats can be released, Prabhakar Sail and his brother's CDR reports, as well as chats, should be released, everything will be clear," Gosavi said before being detained, according to an ANI report.

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News Network
October 22,2021

Bengaluru, Oct 22: The fee for undergraduate medical and dental courses in the state is likely to go up by 15% this academic year.

Sources in the Department of Medical Education said the government was mulling continuing the previous year's decision on fee hike. This means 15% hike for government seats and 25% for private seats. 

A meeting on the issue between the Medical Education minister and the private medical college representatives on Thursday was cancelled last minute as the minister was busy with his pre-scheduled engagements.

"It was the first meeting convened and it got cancelled. We have not officially received any requests from them about the fee hike, but the same will be discussed in the meeting with the minister and we are planning to decide on it in the first sitting itself," said an official from the Department of Medical Education. 

According to the sources, the private medical college managements are demanding  a hike of 25% to 30%. A representative of a private medical college from Bengaluru said, "The deemed-to-be universities and private universities have the privilege to charge around Rs 12 lakh to Rs 15 lakh. We want the fee to be increased on par with them."

Officials said that this is the last year that the state government will bargain with the medical colleges. "From next year, the matter would be left to all-India level counseling by the Directorate General of Health Services, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Since this is the last year, in all probability, we are doing this, we might consider their demand and increase the fee in line with the previous year's agreement," added an official.

The existing fee structure for medical courses for government quota seats at a private medical college is Rs 1,28,746 and for private quota seats is Rs 9,81,956. This is as per the hike made during 2020-2021 academic year. 

Similarly, the fee in private dental colleges stands at Rs 83,356 and Rs 6,66,023 for government and private quota seats, respectively. 

It can be recalled that the fee for undergraduate medical courses has increased by 200% in the last 10 years. The fee charged during 2006-07 academic year for government quota seats at private medical colleges was Rs 42,000. 

In the academic year 2018-19, even the fees at government medical colleges increased significantly from Rs 16,700 to Rs 59,800.

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