» 08/31/2012, 00.00
Himachal Pradesh (partially) repeals its anti-conversion law
The state's high court strikes down Rule 4 (obligation to notify the authorities within 30 days one's intention to convert to a religion other than Hinduism) as well as rules 3 and 5 (requiring the state to investigate conversions). For Card Oswald Gracias, president of Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, the ruling "upheld and protected the constitution" and recognised that everyone has "a right to choose his or her religion."
(AsiaNews) - In a landmark decision, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has struck
down parts of the Freedom of Religion Act 2006, the state's anti-conversion
law. Speaking to AsiaNews, Card Oswald
Gracias, president of Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, said he was "very
satisfied" because the ruling "upheld and protected the constitution" and
recognised that everyone has "a right to choose his or her religion." More specifically,
the High Court repealed Rules 3, 4 and 5 of the law leaving the rest in place.
4 made it punishable for a person intending to convert not to give prior notice
to the district magistrate 30 days before the ceremony. Anyone who failed to
give prior notice would be fined up to a thousand rupees (US$ 18). Such a rule did
not apply to people who wanted to "return" to his or her religion (i.e.
Hinduism), usually in mass ceremonies organised by Hindu fundamentalists.
3 and 5 (which are directly linked) required that the state investigate
religious conversions, without defining when, how and who would investigate.
officials and administrations use such laws to torment and persecute people who
want to exercise their freedom of conscience," Card Gracias told AsiaNews, "and have often been used for
violent acts against minorities."
hope," the prelate said, "is that the ruling by the Himachal Pradesh High Court
will now set an example for other Indian states that have anti-conversion laws."
states that have anti-conversion laws are Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh,
Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
New anti-conversion bill proposed in Himachal Pradesh
The Indian Church is concerned by such a possible decision which would undermine the state's secularist traditions. The Bishops' conference reminds decision-makers about the Catholic Church's social action, which is not geared towards forced conversions but is intended to be at the services of one and all.
Muslim leader defends Himachal Pradesh Christians
In an open letter to Sonia Gandhi, Syed Shahabuddin, a former lawman and president of the All India Muslim Union, wants the state’s proposed anti-conversion bill dropped because it is unnecessary and dangerous to the whole Union.
Love Jihad: luring girls online and forcing them to convert to Islam
The High Court of Kerala asks the state police and the Interior Minister in New Delhi to investigate the forced conversion campaign dubbed "Love Jihad" and "Romeo Jihad." Young people attracted by promises of marriage end up in the hands of Islamic organizations. It is feared that there are over 4 thousand cases. For the boys who act as bait there is a reward of 100 thousand rupees.
New incidents of anti-Christian violence, protest rally set for Delhi
In northern India Hindu extremist groups force a Catholic priest to flee and two Christian missionaries to convert to Hinduism. Christian communities organise rally in Delhi to protest against the rising violence.
Court overturns ruling ordering abortion on 19-year-old mentally challenged and orphaned woman
The woman was raped by two security guards working in the government-run shelter where she was living. She is in her 20th week of pregnancy. Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the termination of her pregnancy, arguing she could not raise the child and would treat him as a “toy”. The young woman said she wanted to have the baby.
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
18/05/2017 ASIA - VATICAN
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