Image: Republic TV
A massive controversy erupted in Karnataka after a picture of Jesus Christ was printed on some ration cards issued by the Basavaraj Bommai-led government in Doddaalahalli. The photos of such ration cards went viral on social media. Meanwhile, pro-Hindu organizations demanded an inquiry and submitted a written memorandum to the Ramnagar Deputy Commissioner in this regard. As per sources, he has instructed the Kanakapura Tahsildar to conduct an inquiry into this matter. Speaking to Republic, Karnataka BJP spokesperson S Prakash demanded strict action against those who printed these ration cards.
BJP's S Prakash remarked, "This is a very shocking incident. There should not be any religious symbols on any of the government-delivered programmes. If this has happened, the persons responsible behind the printing should be sacked from the service. It is against the Constitution."
This incident comes a month after sections of the Christian community expressed their dismay at the Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill being passed in the Karnataka Legislative Council. It prohibits unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or any fraudulent means. Empowering any person to file a complaint against religious conversion, this bill provides for imprisonment of up to ten years and the offence is non-bailable and cognizable.
Reacting to this bill, JA Kanthraj, PRO and Spokesperson Archdiocese of Bangalore told the media, "The entire Christian Community in Karnataka is deeply disturbed and greatly pained at the passing of the Bill 'Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion - 2021' which is now an Act". He added that the community feels betrayed for all its selfless services to society in the fields of education, health and social service. According to him, the contents of this Act remain bitter, brutal, and abrasive in its nature just as the legislation cleared in the Legislative Assembly last year.