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India makes “The Cross” Illegal

ICC Note:

The Christians minority in India often faces different levels of persecution from the Indian government. In some areas, local governments use Anti-Forced Conversion laws to assault and batter Christians, especially pastors, with impunity. Recently, the government of India has decided that it is now illegal for a the most important Christians symbol, the cross, to be shown on public properties. Even if the cross predates the law, the cross must be destroyed. Christians in India are protesting this new law, but it is unlikely they will be able to stop the destruction of crosses.

1/18/2013 India (TimesofIndia) - The Christian community in Mumbai has lodged strong objections with the BMC over the classification of crosses on public properties as illegal structures.

Advocate Godfrey Pimenta, vice-president of the Bombay East Indian Association said the entire blame for the mess rests squarely with the civic legal department. ``Officials have suppressed material facts on the issue not only before the Supreme Court but also the Bombay High Court and the committee formed for taking decisions for removal of encroachment of religious structures. It is unimaginable that protected religious structures, which are in existence even prior to the birth of the BMC and the municipal burroughs which existed prior thereto and are listed as heritage structures, some of which are of historical importance and revered by many communities, are now suddenly deemed illegal by the BMC. There is nothing more blasphemous than the present categorisation done by the committee headed by the municipal commissioner has thrown all cautions to wind and labelled almost every religious structure within the BMC limits as illegal,'' he said.

Pimenta said if the government could accord status of protected structure to residential and commercial premises in existence prior to January 1, 1995 and subsequently extended to January 1, 2000 then why the same cannot be granted to all religious structure.

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