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Christians in India’s Haryana State Concerned by Potential Anti-Conversion Law

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India: On June 16, Manohar Lal Khattar, the Chief Minister of India’s Haryana state, announced his intention to propose the addition of a Freedom of Religion Act to his state’s legal code. According to similar acts, religious conversions would be regulated by the state government, and forced religious conversions would be criminalized. If passed, Haryana would be the ninth state in India to adopt a Freedom of Religion Act, more commonly referred to as an anti-conversion law.

For Christians living in Haryana, Khattar’s announcement left them very concerned. In other states where anti-conversion laws are enforced, radical Hindu nationalists abuse these laws to justify their attacks on Christians and their places of worship.

“There is a growing sense of fear and intimidation in the state,” Pastor Vineoy, head pastor of an independent ministry in Haryana, recently told International Christian Concern (ICC). “Threats from religious fanatics are common for pastors serving in rural villages. A majority suffers silently, and nobody comes to their aid, not even local authorities.”

Pastor Vineoy’s concern is that the passage of the proposed anti-conversion law will provide legal cover to radical nationalists already persecuting Haryana’s Christian community.

“My wife and I could have been killed on that day,” Pastor Tommy Joseph, an Assemblies of God pastor from Haryana, told ICC. On June 14, two days before Khattar announced the proposed anti-conversion law, Pastor Joseph and his wife were brutally attacked by radical nationalists.

“I have been visiting this village for eleven years, and there was no problem,” Pastor Joseph told ICC. “We were about to leave one of our church member’s homes when more than 400 people gathered in front of the house. I heard people saying that I should be shot and I saw several people holding iron rods and other weapons.”

“I thought to myself that this was the end of my life,” Pastor Joseph continued. “They punched me, beat me, and told me I had to ask for forgiveness for going to that village.”

The radicals then chased Pastor Joseph and his wife as they escaped the village on their scooter. This incident has left Pastor Joseph shaken and concerned for the wellbeing of the church member he left behind.

“I know we will not be able to visit that village again,” Pastor Joseph said. “I am not even sure of the fate of the church member in that village.”

“The attack on me appears to have some connection with the activities building up to the anti-conversion law’s announcement,” Pastor Joseph explained.

On June 21, a week after Khattar announced the potential anti-conversion law, radical Hindu nationalists broke into an under-construction Assemblies of God Church in Faridabad and forcibly installed a Hindu idol. Nationalists claimed that a Hindu temple had existed on the same site as the church. Counter to this claim, the church had functioned in that location for 15 years, and the church purchased the land from the previous owner, who occupied it for 47 years.

Fortunately, on June 27, around 100 police personnel arrived at the Assembly of God Church and removed the idol without any opposition a week after its forcible installation.

In states where anti-conversion laws are currently enacted, including Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttrakhand, they are widely abused. Radical nationalists falsely accused Christian leaders and evangelists of forcefully converting individuals to Christianity to justify harassment and assault. Local police often overlook this harassment due to the false accusation of forced conversions.

To date, many Christians have been arrested under forced conversion accusations, but no individual has been convicted of forced conversions in India. This is in spite of the fact that some of the state-level anti-conversion laws have been on the books since 1967.

For many Christians in Haryana, the potential of this law being adopted by their state government has them deeply concerned. If Haryana approves the law proposed by Khattar, it will likely provide a new layer of legal cover for radical Hindu nationalists to attack and terrorize the state’s Christian population.

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ഇന്ത്യക്ക് അടിയന്തിര സഹായം നൽകണമെന്ന് അമേരിക്കൻ കോൺഗ്രസ്സ് പ്രതിനിധി രാജാ കൃഷ്ണമൂർത്തി ബൈഡനോട്

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വാഷിംഗ്ടണ്‍: ഇന്ത്യയിൽ കോവിഡ് (Covid19) വ്യാപനം അതിരൂക്ഷമായ സാഹചര്യത്തിൽ അടിയന്തിര സഹായം വര്‍ദ്ധിപ്പിക്കണമെന്ന് അമേരിക്കന്‍ കോണ്‍ഗ്രസ്സ് പ്രതിനിധി രാജാ കൃഷ്ണമൂര്‍ത്തി അമേരിക്കന്‍ പ്രസിഡന്റ് ജോ ബൈഡനെ കണ്ടു. വാക്സിൻ എത്തിക്കുന്നത്ത വേഗത്തിലാക്കുന്നത് സംബന്ധിച്ചാണ് കൃഷ്ണമൂർത്തി ബൈഡനെ കണ്ടത്.ബൈഡനോട് ഇന്ത്യയിലേക്ക് നല്‍കുന്ന വാക്സിന്‍ സഹായം വര്‍ദ്ധിപ്പിക്കണമെന്നാണ് ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടിരിക്കുന്നതെന്ന് അദ്ദേഹം വ്യക്തമാക്കി. മൂർത്തിക്കൊപ്പം ജനപ്രതിനിധികളായ മലോനി, ക്ലിബേണ്‍, സ്റ്റീഫന്‍ ലിഞ്ച് എന്നിവരുമുണ്ടായിരുന്നു.

ഇതുവരെ അമേരിക്ക ഇന്ത്യയ്ക്ക് നല്‍കിയ എല്ലാ സഹായങ്ങളും കൂടിക്കാഴ്ചയില്‍ സംഘം വിലയിരുത്തി. രാജ്യത്തെ വൈറസ് ബാധയുടെ തീവ്രതയും ചര്‍ച്ച ചെയ്തു. ഇതുവരെ ഇന്ത്യക്ക് നൽകിയ സഹായങ്ങളെ അഭിനന്ദിക്കാനും അവർ മറന്നില്ല.
Sources:globalindiannews

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INS ship in Doha to transport oxygen cylinders to India

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Doha: The Indian naval vessel INS Kolkata arrived in Doha to carry medical equipment collected by Indian expatriates in Qatar to help the motherland in the fight against Kovid. The ship will carry 200 oxygen cylinders and 43 oxygen concentrators assembled under the auspices of the Indian Community Benevolent Forum to provide medical assistance for Kovid treatment in the wake of Kovid patients dying of suffocation in hospitals due to oxygen shortage in India. The Indian Embassy took to Twitter to thank the expatriate community in Qatar and the ICBF for their support in India’s fight against Kovid. INS Kolkata is one of the seven ships launched by the Central Government to transport medical equipment to India from various countries. Also Read: Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday announced the launch of Operation Samudra Sethu-2, a special mission to provide more oxygen to strengthen Kovid treatment. Under the scheme, ships INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, Tabar, Trikand, Jalashwa and Airavat will reach the ports of various countries that have offered assistance to India. As part of this, INS Talwar arrived in Manama, Bahrain and left for India with 40 metric tons of liquid medical oxygen. After collecting medical equipment from Qatar, the ship will move to Kuwait port. From here, the liquid oxygen tanks will be loaded and returned to India.

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