04/08/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – Christian activists have petitioned India’s Supreme Court to challenge guidelines set down by the Rajasthan High Court that they say restrict religious freedom. According to UCAN, the Supreme Court has postponed its hearing on the matter to give the federal government more time to respond to the challenge.
In December 2018, the Rajasthan High Court passed a general guideline restricting religious conversions within the state. According to those guidelines, an individual must inform state government officials of their desire to change religions prior to doing so. Then, after their intention to convert has been publicized for a week, then they should be allowed to change religions.
Many leaders from India’s Christian minority see this as an attack on religious freedom. Speaking to UCAN, A.C. Michael, from the Alliance Defending Freedom, said, “The court’s guideline infringes on the fundamental rights of all persons and violates provisions of the India Constitution. The directions violate the freedom of religions, equality before the law, and personal liberty guaranteed to all Indian citizens without any discrimination based on religion, caste, age, or gender.”
Other laws restricting religious freedom already exist in India. In eight of India’s 29 states, anti-conversion laws are enforced and often abused by Hindu radicals to harass religious minorities. Under those laws, an individual must have their religious conversion approved by the state government in order for it to be deemed legal and not fraudulent.
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