State Data in India Debunks Claim of Mass Forced Conversions to Christianity

ICC Note:

Data recently released by India’s Maharashtra state debunks the claims of many Hindu radicals that there are mass forced conversions to Christianity taking place. According to the data, conversions to Christianity remained equal to the number of Christians leaving the religion. Nothing in the numbers showed anything like the mass forced conversion being claimed by Hindu radicals. Often, Hindu radicals use the claim of forced conversions to harass Christian leaders and justify the passage of laws that restrict religious freedom. With these claims debunked by raw data, will India reassess its policies around religious conversion? 

01/25/2018 India (UCAN) – People converting to Christianity remains nearly equal to the number of Christians leaving the religion in India’s western Maharashtra state, says government figures which negates claims that missioners attract thousands to Christianity.

In the past 43 months, 1,683 people have opted to change their religion in the state, said official figures. They include 1,166 Hindus, 263 Muslims, 165 Christians, 53 Buddhists, 16 Sikhs, nine Jains, four Neo-Buddhists and 11 others.

Of these 165 Christians, 100 became Hindus, 47 took up Islam, 11 became Buddhists, five adopted Jainism and two became followers of Sikhism.

In contrast, during the same period only 173 people joined to become Christians. While 138 Hindus joined Christian religion, 21 came from Islam and 14 from Buddhism and Jainism.

In April last year state legislative house discussed a plan to make a law restricting conversions, which media reports said was aimed at curbing conversion of Hindus by Christian missioners.

The state is yet to make such a law but similar laws exist in seven other states which criminalizes changing religion without informing government authorities.

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