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ICC Note:

Anti-conversion laws and growing religious intolerance in India is to blame for the increased number of attacks on Christians one expert has said. The anti-conversion laws, which makes forceful religious conversion illegal, are often misused by radical Hindu nationalists to harass and persecute Christian leaders. The spread of hardline Hindu nationalism under the BJP-led government has also led to growing religious intolerance which has been noted as another factor in the increased attacks on Christians and their places of worship. Will India be able to confront these issues and actually provide the religious freedom that is guaranteed by their constitution?  

05/23/2017 India (Christian Post) – Since Hindu nationalists gained power in 2014, India has swiftly slid into religious intolerance as the government introduced strict anti-conversion laws in five states. While the law has not been enforced nationwide yet, it emboldened radicals to persecute people of other belief systems, including Christianity.

Andrew Boyd, the spokesman for Christian charity Release International, said the laws prohibit converting Hindus to other religions, which effectively made evangelizing illegal. “[I]f you preach about Heaven then it’s considered to be bribery. If you speak about Hell, then it’s considered to be a threat. If you offer any kind of Christian charity then it’s regarded also as bribery,” he explained.

In the Junwani village of Chhattisgarh, authorities outlawed church attendance on Easter Sunday and imposed a fine of $312, equivalent to the wage of a person for four to five months. That Sunday, five spies were sent to the church to list down the names of the violators. The next day, four Christians were forced to stand like criminals in the middle of the village elders.

One of them, Somari Komra, 40, refused to pay the fine saying the community didn’t help him with his physical illness and mental disorder, which were healed by Jesus. He added that if they force him to stop going to church, they will have to be responsible for his health condition.

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