India– According to media in India’s Madhya Pradesh state, the state cabinet approved a bill that would allow the BJP-led government to more strictly regulate religious conversions and criminalize religious conversion by marriage, financial allurement, or force. The new bill, which would be the most stringent anti-conversion law in India, would replace the Religious Freedom Act of 1968, one of India’s oldest anti-conversion laws.
With the state’s legislative assembly out of session, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, a member of the BJP, announced his government would promulgate the bill as law on Tuesday, December 29.
According to the bill, entitled the MP Freedom to Religion Bill 2020, individuals seeking to change their religion will need to apply to the district administration 60 days in advance. Religious leaders facilitating religious conversions would also need to inform the district administration 60 days in advance. If the previsions of the bill are not followed individuals could face a jail sentence of three to five years and a financial penalty of 50,000 rupees.
Individuals found conducting religious conversions by marriage, fraud, financial allurement, or force would face a jail sentence of one to five years and a financial penalty of 15,000 rupees. The bill includes a special clause for minor and individuals from low castes. Individuals found illegally converting individuals from these classes of people would face a jail sentence of three to ten years and a financial penalty of 25,000 rupees.
The bill does, however, exempt reconversions to one’s “ancestral religion”. The draft law defines “ancestral religion” as the religion of the father of the person at the time of his birth. Elaborating on the exemption, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister, Narottam Mishra, explained that reconversion will not be punished because it is “more a realization of a mistake than a crime.”
Historically, radical Hindu nationalists have used the specter of mass religious conversions to Christianity as justification to pass similar laws limiting religious freedom. According to these nationalists, Indian Christians are accused of converting poor Hindus to Christianity in mass by fraudulent means.
However, India’s own population data does not support this conspiracy. In 1951, the first census after independence, Christians made up 2.3% of India’s population. According to the 2011 census, the most recent census data available, Christians still make up 2.3% of the population.
In states where similar anti-conversion laws are currently enacted, including Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttrakhand, they are widely abused. Radical nationalists abuse these laws by falsely accusing Christians of forcefully converting individuals to Christianity to justify harassment and assault. Local police often overlook violence perpetrated against Christians due to the false accusation of forced conversions.
To date, no individual has been convicted of forced conversions in India. This is in spite of the fact that some of the anti-conversion laws have been on the books since 196
ചര്ച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ് മൈസൂര് ആരാധന പുതിയ സ്ഥലത്ത്
മൈസൂര്: കഴിഞ്ഞ 17 വര്ഷമായി മൈസൂര് ബന്നിമണ്ഡപ് ഇന്ഡസ്ട്രിയല് ഏരിയയില് പ്രവര്ത്തിച്ചു കൊണ്ടിരുന്ന ചര്ച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ് ഇന് ഇന്ത്യാ മൈസൂര് സഭ, മൈസൂര് ഹെബ്ബാള് ഏരിയയിലേയ്ക്ക് മാറി പ്രവര്ത്തനം ആരംഭിച്ചു. ഹെബ്രോന് ചര്ച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ് എന്ന് അറിയപ്പെട്ടിരുന്ന സഭ ഇനി മുതല് ചര്ച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ് (ഫുള് ഗോസ്പല്) ഇന് ഇന്ത്യ,മൈസൂര് എന്ന പേരിലായിരിക്കും അറിയപ്പെടുന്നത്. ദൈവസഭ കര്ണാടക സ്റ്റേറ്റ് ബൈബിള് കോളേജ് ഡയറക്ടറും കൗണ്സില് മെമ്പറുമായ പാസ്റ്റര് റോജി ഇ സാമുവേല് ഈ സഭയില് ശുശ്രൂഷിക്കുന്നു. മൈസൂര് പട്ടണത്തില് മലയാളം ആരാധനയ്ക്കായി ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നവര് ഈ സഭയുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെടുക.
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Indian Pastor Bound and Beaten for Refusal to Contribute to Tribal Rituals
India – According to Morning Star News, a pastor in India’s Jharkhand state was bound and publicly beaten by fellow villagers after he refused to contribute funds to the ritual worship of tribal deities. Despite this intense persecution, the pastor remained steadfast in his faith.
On January 24, Pastor Lakshman Oraon was called before the elders of Jungur village, located in the Latehar District of Jharkhand. The elders of the village demanded he contribute funds to the ritual worship of the village’s tribal deities. When he refused, his arms were tired behind his back and he was beaten.
“When they tied me and started kicking me, I was not at all angry,” Pastor Oraon told Morning Star News. “The Lord reminded me of the verses in Matthew 5:11-12. I received great strength from these words. There was a smile on my face all through.”
After the beating, village elders threatened to excommunicate Pastor Oraon and the other Christians of the village if they continued to refuse to contribute to the tribal rituals.
Facing expulsion, Pastor Oraon reached out to the Alliance Defending Freedom India (ADF). ADF contacted the local police station. Officers called Pastor Oraon and the village elders to the station to work out the situation.
“At the police station, we were asked to give the money, and we gave it,” Pastor Oraon told Morning Star News. “We are praying for the salvation of village leaders and the devotees of tribal deities. The police assured us that they will be a phone call away if any problem arises, and that we will not face any troubles from the villagers after giving the money.”
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ചര്ച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ് മൈസൂര് ആരാധന പുതിയ സ്ഥലത്ത്
മൈസൂര്: കഴിഞ്ഞ 17 വര്ഷമായി മൈസൂര് ബന്നിമണ്ഡപ് ഇന്ഡസ്ട്രിയല് ഏരിയയില് പ്രവര്ത്തിച്ചു കൊണ്ടിരുന്ന ചര്ച്ച് ഓഫ് ഗോഡ് ഇന് ഇന്ത്യാ മൈസൂര് സഭ, മൈസൂര് ഹെബ്ബാള് ഏരിയയിലേയ്ക്ക്...
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