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Twelve tribals arrested under anti-conversion law in Orissa

ICC Note

The police in Orissa arrested twelve Christians  and accused them of illegally converting to Christianity. According to anti-conversion laws in Orissa,  religious conversions can only take place after getting  prior permission of the local police and a district magistrate.

By George Anthony
03/31/2011 India (Christian Today)-Orissa Police on Tuesday arrested twelve tribals for allegedly undergoing religious conversion in an ‘illegal’ manner.

According to sources, the tribals were arrested after a case was registered at Rasgobindpur police station in Mayurbhanj district for violating Orissa Freedom of Religion Act (OFRA).

The arrested, including nine women, were booked under Section 4 of the Freedom of Religion Act . Police are now on the lookout for two Baptist pastors who also have been named by the complainant.

Inspector In-Charge of Rasgobindpur police station, Santosh Das, told Press Trust of India that the twelve tribals arrested from Rasgobindpur area were produced before a court in Bairpada which sent them to jail.

The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act prohibits religious conversions without the prior permission of the local police and a district magistrate.

The order stipulates that a citizen wishing to convert must undergo a police inquiry to explain his or her reasons.

Orissa is one of six states in India that has adopted an anti-conversion legislation which the Church has strongly opposed stating it is against the spirit of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, a Bangalore-based advocacy group condemned Tuesday’s arrest and demanded a probe against the police officials “involved in the intimidation of Christians from the tribal background”.


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