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Karnataka state introduced the law as an ordinance after it failed to sail through the upper house of the state assembly Christians feel betrayed as Indian state criminalizes conversion Christians in India's Karnataka state feel betrayed and hurt after their government criminalized religious conversions ignoring concerns, says Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, who heads the regional bishops' forum. “The Christian community feels betrayed when its sentiments are not taken note of and its selfless services in the fields of education, healthcare and other social areas for the welfare of all communities are not taken into consideration,” said May 18. The prelates' statement came a day after the state government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), promulgated the ordinance on May 17 with the signature of the state governor. The Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill 2021 was passed by the state legislative assembly in last December but the ruling BJP failed to muster enough support in the legislative council or upper house, whose final sanction is required for any law to come into force. The BJP-led government then decided on taking the ordinance route to implement the anti-conversion law. Archbishop Machado, who heads the state's bishops' council said, called the move “a big letdown”

As many as six people have been arrested on Monday for allegedly trying to convert people into followers of Christianity at the Christ Memorial School in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, an official said. Following this matter, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that the police have been directed to monitor the conversion activities in schools. Bhopal’s Bairagarh police station in-charge DP Singh said that following a complaint, a police team on Sunday raided the Christ Memorial School premises where a group had gathered and people were about to be converted. Father Paul Polas, Kamini Paul, Rajesh Malviya and Ritika Malviya were arrested on spot while the school director Menis Mathew and Rahul Sharma were arrested on Monday, he said. DP Singh said that the accused are being booked under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act. When asked about this incident, the state government spokesperson and home minister Narottam Mishra told reporters, “Instructions have been given to the police intelligence to monitor whether the conversion activities are going on in missionary schools of Madhya Pradesh." Meanwhile, a project has been launched in Madhya

The hill shrine in Andhra Pradesh is being falsely claimed as a sacred spot for Hindus Attack on shrine upsets Christians in southern India Christians protest against vandals attacking the statues of Mother Mary, Infant Jesus and the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Guntur Diocese in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on May 15. (Photo supplied) Unidentified vandals destroyed statues of Mother Mary, Infant Jesus and the Sacred Heart of Jesus at a hill shrine in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh causing shock among the local Catholics. The incident happened on the intervening night of May 14 and 15. "We came to know about it through some Catholics who had been there early morning,” said Father Bala Subash Chandra Bose who is in charge of the shrine. The newly constructed shrine complex at Edlapadu in the Guntur district was being readied for an inauguration, Father Bose told UCA News on May 18. “Christians here are in a state of shock and disbelief,” the Guntur diocesan priest said. “We organized a protest march on May 15 evening to press for speedy investigations.” However, three days after no one had been arrested and the priest said a peace march had been planned on the

Man alleges forced conversion in Madikeri, Christian couple from Kerala booked Accused have been booked under IPC section 295 (A), remanded to judicial custody Police official said they have not received circular on Anti-Conversion Law On May 17, an ordinance on the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill (2021) or commonly known as Anti-Conversion Law came into effect, on the same day, a Christian couple was arrested by the Madikeri district police over allegations of forced religious conversion. Based on the complaint filed by a man, an FIR was lodged under IPC section 295 (A). The accused were produced before the court and sent to judicial custody. On Tuesday afternoon, chaos prevailed at Manchalli village of Madikeri district as members of the Bajrang Dal barged into a house belonging to a man named Paniyeravar A Mutha and questioned the motive of a Christian couple, who were inside the house. After arguments between the Christian couple and the right-wing group members, the couple was handed over to the Kutta police. Speaking on the issue, local Bajrang Dal leader Sajjan Ganapati told News9 that, he along with other members went to the spot after they received the information about forced religious

Karnataka state plans to bring in an ordinance after failing to steer an earlier bill outlawing religious conversions The Catholic Church in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has criticized the government for its attempts to keep the pot boiling on the contentious issue of religious conversions. The May 12 announcement by Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy of the state government’s plan to usher in an emergency law to counter religious conversions and interfaith marriages by issuing an ordinance has alarmed Christians. The state's legislative assembly passed an anti-conversion bill — Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill 2021 — last December but failed to present it in the upper house or legislative council for final sanction, perhaps because the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is one seat short of a majority there. An ordinance comes into effect with the signature and seal of the state's governor but has to be ratified by the elected legislative house within six months. “The pro-Hindu BJP wants to keep alive the bogey of conversions ahead of the crucial elections,” said J.A. Kanthraj, public relations officer of Bangalore Archdiocese, while referring to the local polls to be held in a couple of months followed by provincial assembly elections next year

USCIRF religious freedom report recommended designating India as "country of particular concern" Washington:  A Hindu body in Washington has called the USCIRF report on religious freedom a work of "Hinduphobic" commission members while Muslim and Christian groups hailed the observations made in it, demanding that the US declare India as a "country of particular concern". The US Commission for International Religious Freedom or USCIRF report recommended to the Biden Administration to designate India, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and 11 other nations as "countries of particular concern" in the context of religious freedom. The recommendations are not binding on the US government. HinduPACT, an initiative of the World Hindu Council of America, in a statement alleged that the USCIRF has been taken over by "Indophobic and Hinduphobic members". The American Muslim Institution (AMI) and its associate organisations applaud the USCIRF recommendation, saying religious freedom conditions in India "significantly worsened" in 2021. The Federation of Indian-American Christian Organisations and the Indian-American Muslim Council in separate statements reportedly applauded the USCIRF recommendation. During a special virtual congressional briefing, a day after the release of the report, USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava had alleged that Indian government officials were tolerating and engaging in religious persecution of Muslims and Christians with prolific mob violence. India has

While it awaits the school’s response, the government has directed all state block educational officers to monitor schools for religious teachings and issue notices The state government has issued a notice to Clarence High School in Richards Town in East Bengaluru to explain its decision to mandate teaching of the Bible. Considering complaints from parents and media reports, the Department of Primary and Secondary Education issued a notice to the school on Tuesday, with Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh confirming that the government will take confirming that the government will take action after the school’s response. The minister told a press conference on Tuesday that the school’s action is a violation of the Karnataka Education Act. “While issuing a No Objection Certificate to other board schools, we insist that they stick to the provisions of the act,” he said. Although minority educational institutions may get administrative relaxations, they are not allowed to teach religious books. “There will be no special provisions in the curriculum to teach or preach religious books in schools. All these were mentioned while issuing the No Objection Certificate,” Nagesh added. While it awaits the school’s response, the department has directed all state block educational officers to monitor schools

The arrests were made after a raid was carried out at a church in the Hariharganj area on the information provided by members of a Hindu organisation, it is learnt. Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh news, Uttar Pradesh Police, Religious conversions, unlawful religious conversion, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India News. All those arrested were later bailed out. The drive against bootleggers was also conducted on Friday night. (File) Twenty six persons were arrested on Friday for alleged illegal religious conversions in Uttar Pradesh’s Fatehpur district, police said. The arrests were made after a raid was carried out at a church in the Hariharganj area on the information provided by members of a Hindu organisation, it is learnt. Besides the anti-conversion law, the police also invoked charges of promoting enmity between two groups against the accused. “Those arrested, all men, were produced in a local court in Fatehpur. The court dropped anti-conversion charges since the complainant was not party to the alleged conversion as the case was filed by a Hindu organisation member. The court granted bail to nine persons while others were sent to jail,” said circle officer (city) Dinesh Chandra

A federation of Indian American Christian groups says it documented at least 761 incidents of violence against Christians, including lynching and armed assaults last year. It is recommended that the U.S. and European governments impose sanctions on officials who promote violence and exclusion of religious minorities. “The year 2021 has proven to be the most violent year for Christians in India,” said John Prabhudoss, the chairman of the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America, at a press conference in Washington, D.C., this week. Prabhudoss said FIACONA documented and analyzed all the 761 incidents, adding that the number of anti-Christian attacks is likely to be much higher because most of the incidents are not reported. Christians and other minorities, he explained, do not trust the police, especially in rural areas. “The current hostile environment in India amplifies that distrust.” Prabhudoss added that a survey by FIACONA in states where the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is governing showed that 72% of Christians believe that the police will not protect their lives, liberty, property or their way of life. The report by FIACONA said India’s judiciary is also not viewed as being independent and impartial. “The higher courts in India have been passing judgments favoring

03/23/2022: The northern Indian province of Haryana has joined other pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state governments in passing a legislative bill criminalizing religious conversions. The Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2022, was adopted in the state legislative assembly amid protests and a walkout by Congress, the main opposition party, on March 22. The bill preventing religious conversions and interfaith marriages “through force, undue influence or allurement” has a provision of imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of not less than 100, 000 rupees (US$1,310) for the guilty persons. “There is no second opinion that the bill was passed to check the activities of so-called minority religions or groups in the state. The bill was uncalled for as there was a similar law in the state [preventing conversions],” said Father Felix Jones, who heads Delhi Archdiocese's Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue. Divine Word Father Jones told UCA News that “the bill will send a wrong message among minorities as there are possibilities of its misuse. People can use the law as a tool to settle their personal scores.”   The priest pointed out the already existing differences among Hindus and Muslims in the state on the issue of Friday

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