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Karnataka anti-conversion law: Siddaramiah cabinet decides to withdraw BJP govt’s statute

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his cabinet approved the idea, and it would probably be brought into force soon.

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Karnataka CM

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government today decided to repeal the anti-conversion law that was introduced by the previous BJP government. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his cabinet approved the idea, and it would probably be brought into force soon.

The Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed the bill in December 2021 with the intent of protecting religious freedom and outlawing forcible conversion from one religion to another through deception, coercion, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or any other fraudulent means.

The government then took the decision to introduce a bill to carry out the measure. On May 17, 2022, Karnataka Governor Thawarchand Gehlot approved the ordinance. The Assembly was then bound to approve it within six months, after which it would no longer be in force.

The contentious anti-conversion measure was approved by the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government in September  2022, despite being opposed by the Congress and JD(S). In order to put the bill into force while it was still pending in the Legislative Council, where the BJP, which was in power at the time, lacked a majority, the government promulgated an ordinance in May.

Araga Jnanendra, the state’s home minister at the time, highlighted that religious conversions had increased recently and claimed that large-scale conversions had occurred under pressure and by force, disrupting the peace and creating animosity between followers of various religions. According to Jnanendra, the measure does not restrict anyone’s right to practise their chosen religion, but they must do so free from pressure and enticement.

What does anti-conversion law say?

No one shall use or practise misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or by any other fraudulent means, nor shall anyone aid or abet such conversion, whether directly or indirectly, nor shall anyone attempt such conversion with respect to any other person. With the exception that returning to one’s immediate previous religion will not be deemed a conversion for the purposes of this Act.

Without affecting any civil prejudice, anyone who violates section 3 is subject to a fine of Rs 25,000 as well as imprisonment of three years in jail, which can be extended to five years.

If the conversion involved a minor, a person of unsound mind, a woman, or an individual of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, the offender would face a minimum sentence of three years in jail and a maximum of ten years in prison, as well as a fine of Rs 50,000.

2024 Lok Sabha Elections

Voter turnout of 56.68% recorded till 5pm in 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections

Elections are being held in 49 constituencies across eight states and Union Territories in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

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A voter turnout of 56.68 % was recorded in phase 5 till 5 pm as per the Election Commission’s Voter Turnout App, with the highest voting percentage in West Bengal (73 %) and the lowest in Maharashtra (48.66 %). Lok Sabha elections are taking place in 49 constituencies across 8 states and Union Territories in the 5th phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Voter turnout of 56.68% was recorded till 5pm. The breakup is as follows: J&K: 54.21%, Bihar: 52.35%, Ladakh: 67.15%, Jharkhand: 61.90%, Maharashtra: 48.66%, UP: 55.80%, Odisha: 60.55% and West Bengal: 73%. The fate of 4 Union ministers, including Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani, as well as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be decided in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. Former UP CM Mayawati, BJP’s Rae Bareli candidate Dinesh Pratep Singh, Smriti Irani were among the early voters today who cast their vote in the morning.

 The Lucknow East Lok Sabha seat will also hold a bypoll on the same day. The Lok Sabha seats which are participating in this phase include Rae Bareli, Mohanlalganj, Jalaun (SC), Amethi, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Banda, Kaushambi (SC), Fatehpur, Faizabad, Barabanki (SC), Gonda  and Kaisarganj. The candidates also include and minister of state of consumer affairs Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti (Fatehpur) and minister of state for housing and urban affairs Kaushal Kishor (Mohanlalganj). Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seat which was previously held by his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

 The total number of voters expected to cast their vote in this phase is over 2.68 crore voters, with 144 candidates looking for their support. 11 BJP incumbent Lok Sabha MPs are contesting in this phase, while nominating new candidates in Kaisarganj and Barabanki (SC) Lok Sabha seats.

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Minor crashes Porsche killing two in Pune, granted bail in 15 hours, asked to write essay

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Tragedy struck in Kalyani Nagar, Pune during the early hours of Sunday when a speeding Porsche collided with a two-wheeler, resulting in the immediate deaths of two motorcyclists. Police officials have confirmed that the luxury car involved in the horrific accident was being driven by a juvenile. 

The juvenile court has granted bail to the 17-year-old after 15 hours with specific conditions. The bail terms included working with Yerawada traffic police for 15 days, writing an essay on the accident, seeking treatment from a doctor for alcohol cessation, and undergoing psychiatric counselling with a report submission.

The victims, a man and a woman, died on the spot after the speeding Porsche Taycan crashed into them from behind. Soon after the accident, the police arrived at the spot and booked the minor for rash and negligent driving, endangering life, and causing harm under IPC Sections 304A, 279, 337, 338, 427, and relevant sections of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicle Act at Pune City’s Yerwada Police Station.

The victims have been identified as Anis Avlia (24), and Ashwini Kosta (24). Both the victims hailed from Madhya Pradesh and were employed in Pune as engineers. Anis Avlia, a graduate in computer science, was employed at a multinational company situated in Kalyani Nagar, while Ashwini had been working alongside him at the same company until recently, before opting for a break.

Meanwhile, concerned authorities said that they have dispatched the minor’s blood samples for analysis to determine potential alcohol influence, with the results pending at the time of press. Reportedly, the accused is the son of renowned builder and Brahma Realty and Infrastructure owner, Vishal Agarwal. The Porsche involved in the accident was an unregistered vehicle.

It is reported that when the Pune police produced the minor in front of the magistrate, they requested the court to treat him as an adult. Nonetheless, the request was rejected and the court granted bail under the Juvenile Justice Act, imposing a few conditions along with the bail.

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Messages threatening Arvind Kejriwal appear on walls of Delhi metro station, inside trains, AAP blames BJP

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs has a letter sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday and demanded prompt and severe action in response to graffiti that had appeared on the Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar stations of the Delhi Metro.

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recieved threating messages today, May 20, which were witten on a poster. These posters were found at two metro stations of Delhi and inside the metro coaches.

Images of the statements appeared on social media, with at least two of them appearing on signboards carrying the names of the Patel Nagar and Rajiv Chowk metro stations, and several of them sticked on the walls of metro stations. However, it is yet to confirm that who did this.

According to a senior police officer, the incident has been brought to their attention and an inquiry has been started.

Following the appearance of threatening graffiti within the metro stations of Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar in the nation’s capital, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP were preparing an attack on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh claimed claimed that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was the hub of the purported plot to target Arvind Kejriwal.

The BJP has been in a panic since Arvind Kejriwal’s release from jail. Right now, the BJP is preparing to strike Arvind Kejriwal with deadly intent. The prime minister’s office is the direct source of this plot. At the Metro stations in Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar, an attack threat against Kejriwal ji has been inscribed, according to Sanjay Singh’s statement today.

There have also reportedly been threatening messages scrawled inside metro trains.

AAP leader Atishi said the BJP is afraid of losing the next Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.  She claimed Arvind Kejriwal was targeted by the BJP through Swati Maliwal.

Meanwhile, the MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has a letter sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday and demanded prompt and severe action in response to graffiti that had appeared on the Rajiv Chowk and Patel Nagar stations of the Delhi Metro.

Social media users have also posted pictures of the graffiti. Security guards are stationed 24/7 and these stations are covered by CCTV. Why don’t the cops take any action? The Cyber Cell is where? This indicates that the BJP is behind this, she claimed.

In light of the Lok Sabha elections, Kejriwal was granted interim relief by the Supreme Court earlier this month. On March 21, Kejriwal was taken into custody in relation to his purported involvement in the Delhi excise policy case.

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