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  • » 07/09/2013, 00.00

    INDIA

    Madhya Pradesh, clergymen “in danger” due to the anti-conversion

    Nirmala Carvalho

    The state government will discuss in parliament the application about an amendment that also involves religious leaders. In the case of a conversion, a priest must communicate the data of the person concerned to the authorities 30 days before the ceremony. Those who violate the decree are liable to a fine and up to three years in prison.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A new hold on conversions is likely to befall Madhya Pradesh: these days the Government of the Indian State will discuss in Parliament an amendment to the anti-conversion law already in force. The change requires priests to provide local authorities all the details of the person who decides to change his or her religion at least 30 days before the ceremony. Otherwise, he risks a fine of 1000 rupees (€13) and up to three years in prison.

    The amendment concerns section 5 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act of 1968 and was introduced in 2006, without being debated in Parliament. In the original version, the law did not involve the priest, but asked only the future convert to inform the district authorities of his or her decision.

    For Sajan George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the conversion laws "are aimed at demonizing the Christian minority and are used as an instrument of persecution". Like Madhya Pradesh, other Indian States as well have introduced similar measures: Gujarat, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Himanachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan. "These laws", he adds, "are a challenge to the secular credentials of our constitution and fundamental human rights".

    In theory, these measures should prohibit conversions obtained by force or with money, and three years in prison for "proselytism". However, they are exploited to persecute Christians, by producing false allegations of forced conversions. 

     

     

     

     

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    See also

    22/06/2012 INDIA
    New attacks against Pentecostal Christians in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka
    The incidents are driven by ultra-nationalist Hindus (Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP). In both cases, the police arrested the Christians. Sajan George, the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "Disturbing pattern, made of social pressures and violence."

    26/07/2006 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh makes anti-conversion law tougher

    The state assembly yesterday approved – with a voice vote and without parliamentary debate – a decree that strengthens the anti-conversion law. The Christian Association has protested.



    05/05/2016 10:05:00 INDIA
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    03/07/2006 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh: Hindu extremists burn down Pentecostal church

    This is the second place of worship to be destroyed in the same district. Bibles found inside were also burned. The Catholic Church has expressed solidarity and concern about what happened.



    10/01/2007 INDIA
    Hindu militants forcibly prevent alleged “mixed marriage”
    Armed with swords and tridents, a group broke into a Marriage Registrar’s office in Madhya Pradesh to prevent marriage between a woman – who they claimed was a Hindu – and a Christian man. The woman says she is animist and has threatened to commit suicide.



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