Noted writer, littérateur Dr Doddarange Gouda, Novelist Dr Sumathindra Nadig, Thinker P N Benjamin and several others, in a joint press meet at Press Club Bangalore today demanded a law to be formulated in Karnataka to stop illegal religious conversions.
The detailed Press Note is given below:
By Dr Doddarange Gouda, Dr Sumatindra Nadig at Press Club on March 7, 2011.
It is a long standing demand of Hindus that fraudulent, money induced conversions be banned and not voluntarily, enlightened conversions. A deaf ear has been turned by the Government since several decades. This demand of Hindus has been vindicated by the recent report submitted by the Justice B K Somashekar Commission of Inquiry, appointed to probe the circumstances leading to the attack on the various places of worship, including Churches.
The Commission after extensive inquiry spread over a period of nearly two years, examination of hundred of witnesses including several enlightened Church officials, Christians, converted Hindus, Hindus, police officers has come to the conclusion that there is rampant fraudulent conversions, and the same needs to be curbed. In this regard it is pertinent here to mention regarding admission made by Father Joseph Menzses, who is the Parish Priest of St. James Church of Mariyannapalya, Bangalore, before the Justice B K Somashekar Commission of Inquiry, during the inquiry. Father Joseph Menzses has clearly stated before the Commission that in gross violations of their religious injunctions they are resorting to idol worship only to attract Hindus and that there is nothing wrong in fraudulently converting Hindus. T I Joy, a Pastor from Puttur, Mangalore, has admitted that he has divine powers of curing even deadly diseases such as AIDS, Diabetics, B P etc. These fraudulent methods employed by some fanatic Christians do not contribute to communal harmony and has resulted in friction between Hindus and Christians.
Several Police officers from various places have categorically and unanimously stated before the Commission that they are helpless when there are complaints of fraudulent conversion and a new law is needed for this purpose. Hence there is a need to enact legislation for preventing fraudulent, money induced conversions.
Secondly there is need to introduce Secular education in Minority run institutions and ensure that they do not hurt the sentiments of Hindu students by compulsorily teaching Bible to them, imposing restrictions on them in observing their customs or religious beliefs such as wearing of Kum Kum, flowers, bangles etc. These facts have come to light from the evidence tendered by Christians before the Commission namely- Francis a Christian school employee.
It has come to light that Hindu converts from SC/ST community despite their conversion continue to obtain government reservation, facilities meant for SC/ST people, thus the genuine SC/ST people are deprived of the benefits meant for them. In this regard too there is a need for suitable enactment.
Lastly there is a need to inculcate tolerance among the minorities for the reason that their hatred for other religions is clear from their evidence given before the Commission. The depositions of Smt Padmavathi of Davangere, Philomena D Souza of Mariyannpalya of Bangalore and several others are relevant in this regard.