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ICC Note:

Christians and other minorities in India are preparing to protest against the recently passed Religious Freedom Act 2017 in Jharkhand, also commonly referred to as the anti-conversion law. The law would make religious conversions by force or allurement illegal and would set up the state government as the arbiter of when conversions are legitimate and illegitimate. Unfortunately, similar laws in other states in India are widely abused by Hindu radicals to target and persecute Christians. Will the upcoming protests convince Jharkhand’s government to reverse its decision to add this law?  

09/22/2017 India (Christian Today) – So-called ‘anti-conversion’ laws in India are designed to restrict religious freedom, according to Indian Theologian Fr Michael Kerketta, who teaches in the capital of the latest state to enact them.

Kerketta is a professor in Ranchi, capital of Jharkand, which recently became the ninth state to introduce an anti-conversion law.

He told the Fides news service: ‘The measure affects non-Hindu religious communities like Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, and other local communities. It is our duty to denounce an injustice that violates the freedom of conscience and religion and is against the Constitution.’

Protests against the law will be held on Saturday, September 23.

Kerketta noted that the state government was in the hands of the right-wing Baratya Janata Party (BJP). He said: ‘Hindu extremist groups in the state of Jharkhand are strong and have ample space in society. In past days’ anti-Christian demonstrations in Ranchi and violent militants shook the city. Some Christians are in prison for false accusations of having promoted conversions.’

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