03/22/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – Sister Bagha worked as a respected principal of a small missionary school in Madhya Pradesh, India, until a disgruntled teacher accused her of violating the state’s new Freedom of Religion (FoR) law on February 20, 2021.
Two days prior, Sister Bagha told the sub-division magistrate she fired Ruby Singh because Ms. Singh did not have enough documentation to work at the school, and her performance did not meet expectations. Ms. Singh retaliated against Sister Bagha by submitting a First Information Report (FIR) among the Hindu religious nationalist group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). VHP members are avid promoters of the newly passed anti-conversion law in March 2021.
According to Asia News, the teacher accused Sister Bagha of harassing her to convert to Catholicism, threatening to stop paying her if she did not. Police took Sister Bagha into custody; however, a short investigation showed no evidence of violating the FoR law. She posted bail for 10,000 INR.
“It is clear that Ruby Singh falsely implicated the principal Sister Bhagya by leveling the allegations of forced conversion against her and her family,” said Judge Atul Sreedharan.
Sister Bagha is the most recent example of how a vague accusation of illegal conversion can exploit innocent religious minorities. Groups like the VHP use this law as a political tool to remove foreign religious influence in India.
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