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ICC Note:

As India’s Jharkhand State votes whether to adopt an anti-forced conversion laws, a Christian leader has spoken out against the very notion of forced conversion. According to Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, no one can force another to convert from one religion to another. Hindu radicals often abuse anti-forced conversion laws to harass Christians claiming all charity work done by Christians is with the intent to forcefully convert Hindus to Christianity. Currently, 6 Christians in Madhya Pradesh State remain in prison under charges of forced conversion after they were arrested accompanying 70 Christian children to a summer Bible camp. 

08/03/2017 India (Catholic Culture) – New legislation that would impose criminal penalties for forcible conversions in India’s Jharkhand state would be irrelevant to Christians, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo of Ranchi told the Asia News service, explaining: “No one can force another to convert.”

“Forced conversions do not exist,” the cardinal said. He explained that conversion requires an act of free will.

Cardinal Toppo expressed regret that Jharkhand might soon become the seventh state in India to enact legislation against coerced conversions. The bans have been demanded by Hindu activists, who complain that poor and ignorant people are being enticed to become Christians.

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