Government has a duty to protect people’s rights: Faustine L Lobo – The New Indian Express
Express press service
BENGALERU: The state government took the ordinance route to introduce the Anti-Conversion Act. Was it compulsory?
It is a completely autocratic and unjustified decision. It is an effort made by the state government towards an imaginary problem for the sole purpose of polarizing society. What is the emergency situation that the government found to pass an order? The government is not in a position to give statistics to prove its “so-called” rampant conversion problem which it insists on.
Do you think this bill, if passed, will destroy the secular social fabric of the state and the country?
The government is the guardian of citizens’ rights. It is his duty to protect people’s rights. This is a most discriminatory measure as it aims to harass the minority, Dalits and women in particular. It is a violation of human rights, not to mention religious freedom. The freedom to choose one’s religion is restricted and left to the whims and fancies of the district magistrate, who is invariably a political person. Pressure from the majority community seems to be the reason for having this bill.
There is a perception that fringe elements set the agenda of the BJP-led state government. Is what the government does enough to ensure community harmony?
The sudden upsurge in attacks on churches and church personnel shows that fringe elements have carte blanche to do as they please. The government seems to be blind to what it is doing. The machinery of government does not act against perpetrators when innocent victims suffer. On the contrary, in many cases, victims are targeted and prosecuted against them and release the perpetrators. Victims’ complaints are not recorded in several cases. I feel the government is doing little to establish community harmony.
How can community leaders play a role in ensuring community harmony?
Community leaders must feel the need to come together. All must understand that peace and harmony are prerequisites for development. Different religious leaders, political leaders, local leaders and community leaders must seriously understand the value of living in peace and harmony.
Faustine L Lobo, Secretary, All-Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights