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ICC Note:

Four people in India’s Madhya Pradesh state have been fined by a village council for practicing Christianity. According to reports, the individuals are now being monitored closely to insure they do not continue to practice Christianity. Madhya Pradesh is one of six states in India that have passed anti-conversion laws. These laws state that individuals may not convert to another religion unless they get permission from the state government. These laws seem to fly in the face of India’s constitution which is supposed to guarantee full religious freedom.  

2/4/2016 India (UCAN) – A village council in central India has fined four people for practicing Christianity and is closely watching them to prevent them continuing to do so.

The Dahar village council in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, fined the four 5,000 rupees (US$75) each, Shankar Singh, one of those fined told ucanews.com Feb 4.

The punishment on Jan. 19 came five days after police arrested and later released 12 people who had gathered at Singh’s house.

The arrests followed accusations by a Hindu group that the people at the gathering were attempting to convert to Christianity.

Members of the Hindu group surrounded the house and called police, Singh said.

“We are under tremendous pressure to give up our faith in Christ,” the 40-year-old told ucanews.com, adding that he had been prevented from leaving the village for the past two weeks.

He and the other three denied allegations they had converted to Christianity or indulged in any conversion activity.

“I am a member of the Bhilala tribe and continue to be in it,” Singh said.

“I’m simply happy to attend Christian meetings and prayers, which have helped me overcome my financial worries, alcoholism, unhappiness and other negativities in my life.”

The state, run by pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, has an anti-conversion law that criminalizes conversion if done without permission from government authorities. Fines and jail terms are stipulated for those involved in “fraudulent” and “forced” conversion and for “alluring” people to change their religion.

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