Karnataka Assembly passes anti-conversion bill amid protests
Daily NEWS Summary | 23-12-2021; Karnataka Assembly passed the Anti-Conversion Bill, the Karnataka Religious Freedom Right Protection Bill, 2021, via a voice vote during the ongoing winter session in Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, even when members of Congress and Janata Dal (lay) held a dharna at the Well of the House.
- The bill proposes a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the forced conversion of people from registered castes and tribes, minors and women to another religion. The bill prohibits conversion by false declaration, force, fraud, temptation to marry, coercion and undue influence.
- With less than six hours of discussion on the bill, members of Congress called for more time to participate in the discussion while a comment on “cutting people to pieces if they interfere with the protection of Hindus” by the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, KS Eshwarappa sparked an angry reaction after which members organized a dharna at the well.
- The bill has also been criticized by various human rights organizations, which staged a protest in Bengaluru, demanding its immediate withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Congress faced embarrassing times even as it prepared to oppose the government’s attempt to introduce the bill. The ruling BJP provided documents showing that a similar bill was drafted in 2016 by the then congress government led by Siddaramaiah.
One dead, three injured in an explosion at the Ludhiana judicial complex
Daily NEWS Summary | 23-12-2021; One person was killed and five others injured in an explosion at Ludhiana District Court. Political parties have claimed the incident was an attempt to create unrest in the Punjab ahead of the Assembly elections in early 2022. Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi drew a parallel between an FIR case against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia and the Ludhiana explosion, as well as recent incidents of alleged sacrilege.
The Union Interior Ministry has requested a report from the Punjabi government on the blast, a senior government official said. Union Interior Minister Amit Shah was also briefed on the incident, the official added. A witness said the explosion was so powerful that it severely damaged one of the walls in the complex, as well as most of the windows in the building. At the time of the explosion, hundreds of people were in the complex.
Dalit cook fired in Uttarakhand after upper caste students refused to eat food she made
Daily NEWS Summary | 23-12-2021; A Dalit woman serving lunch at a public high school in the Champawat district of Uttarakhand was reportedly fired from her job after upper caste students refused to eat the food she was preparing. The incident took place at a school in Sukhidhang, Champawat district. A day after her appointment as “Bhojanmata” earlier this month, the students stopped eating the food she was preparing due to their caste and started bringing their food from home. Of the 66 students at the school, 40 reportedly refused to eat the food she was preparing.
Even the students’ parents objected to her appointment as “Bhojanmata” after a higher caste woman was also interviewed for the post. However, Champawat’s education director R.C. Purohit said their appointment was canceled because it was discovered that the rules were not followed during their appointment.
The central government has advised states due to hold Assembly elections in the coming months to exponentially increase COVID-19 vaccination to protect vulnerable populations given the steady rise in cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in India.
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said more than 60% of the eligible adult population in the country is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- The number of coronavirus cases reported in India was 3,47,654,984 at the time of publication of this bulletin, with a death toll of 4,789,759.