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Goa CM Pramod Sawant also called upon people to be alert about religious conversions and said, “The temple committees should also keep watch”. PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant said on Friday that his government would not allow any religious conversions in the state. “In different parts of the state, people are taking advantage of poor belonging to minority and backward communities, who are unemployed and striving for food and doing religious conversions. Such religious conversions should not take place even by mistake and my government will not allow it,” Sawant said at an idol installation ceremony at Kudnem temple in Bicholim taluka. He also called upon people to be alert about religious conversions and said, “The temple committees should also keep watch”. Referring to the Portuguese rule, Sawant said: “Sixty years ago we believed in dev (god), dharma (religion) and desh (nation). It was believed that if god is protected, then religion will be protected and if religion is protected, then nation will be protected. With these sentiments people of Goa migrated to places with the idols of gods.” He said after 60 years, people are once again making an effort to visit the places from where they were displaced, to try and find their

Anti-conversion laws in India, ironically also known as Freedom of Religion Acts, are state-level laws that have been enacted to regulate religious conversion. To date, Ten states out of twenty-eight states have enacted these laws: Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. Haryana, this February, has introduced an anti-conversion bill in the Assembly. Recently, Manipur has also shown interest in bringing such laws. The majority of these states have a good number of Adivasi/Tribal populations. So it is intriguing to know why these laws are more familiar to Adivasi dominated states?. But in recent years, it is becoming common across the country, especially where BJP is the ruling party. In this piece, my focus is on Adivasi dominated states. Anti-conversion laws are not a new phenomenon in India, it has a history since the colonial time. Around the 1930s and 1940s, some Hindu princely states enacted these laws to preserve Hindu religious identity out of the fear of the British missionaries. The princely states were Kota, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Raigarh, Patna, Surguja, Udaipur, and Kalahandi. In post-colonial India, despite pressure from Hindu groups to introduce anti-conversion laws at the national level, Nehru rejected such

Sec Blinken and Sec Austin Should not Allow Their Indian Counterparts at the 2+2 Meeting Today Blackmail Them : FIACONA Sensing weakness, the Indian side would demand that the US ignore India's domestic policies and internal developments in return for cooperation on Ukraine. The Federation of Indian American Christians Releases 2022 Report on India Documenting 761 cases of Violent Attacks. Washington, D.C. Federation Indian Christian Associations of North America (FIACONA), an advocacy organization, representing a million Indian American Christians in the U.S., released its 2022 Report documenting 761 attacks against Christians in India. This report was released ahead of the soon-to-be-released report from the United States Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF). India is becoming more and more prominent in America’s global engagement. Policymakers in the US Administration tend to blink first to demands from the Indian side that India’s domestic policies be ignored for cooperation on issues involving foreign policy like India’s cooperation on Ukraine. FIACONA asks that America stay firm and resist compromising on its principles and not allow it to be blackmailed by Indian officials meeting with Mr. Blinken and Mr. Austin today The Report shows that all 761 attacks on Christians across India were carried out by the radical Hindu

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

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Still recovering from injuries at the hands of a Hindu extremist-led mob that beat him unconscious in January, a pastor in central India faces death threats, landlords who refuse to rent to him and baseless charges of forcible conversion, sources said. “Kailash Dudwe was brutally assaulted to the extent of almost being killed, was stripped and paraded on the street with grievous injuries, was hospitalized for a fortnight, a warrant issued against him and sent to jail,” said Anar Singh Jamre, a Christian leader in Pastor Dudwe’s area of Dhar District, Madhya Pradesh. Hindu extremists led a mob of more than 20 people to attack Pastor Dudwe and six other Christians – his wife, a 16-year-old girl and four men – who had gathered to pray at his church site in Kukshi village on Jan. 14, he said. With his 1-year-old baby nearby, the assailants tried to hit his 5-year-old daughter with an iron bar, he said. “My wife caught the rod and stopped it from hitting our daughter,” Pastor Dudwe said. “I still get terrified at the thought of their brutality, that they showed no mercy towards my little girl.” The 16-year-old girl picked up his son

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Six masked men in central India this month killed one of 22 Christians a Maoist group had warned to “leave the pastorship,” sources said. Pastor Yalam Shankar was slashed and shot to death the evening of March 17 outside his home in Angampalli village, Bijapur District, Chhattisgarh state in front of his wife and daughter-in-law, relatives said. They said he was in his early 50s. The assailants left a note on his body stating that they were Maoists who had killed him for being a “police informer,” but area Christian leaders and police said they doubted that was the motive. While Pastor Shankar was eating dinner on March 17, some men outside his house called out the name of his oldest son, the pastor’s daughter-in-law said. Pastor Shankar went out to speak with them, and his wife and daughter-in-law followed. As he stepped out telling them that his son was not at home, the six men with faces covered with cloths attacked him, said his daughter-in-law, whose name is withheld for security reasons. “As soon as my father-in-law stepped out of the house, they tied his hands at the back,” she said. “Then they hit his face and forced

(Read the story on The Wire)   New Delhi: Filippo Osella, a well-known anthropologist and sociologist, who arrived at Thiruvananthapuram international airport from the UK on Thursday, March 24, morning to attend a conference in the city was deported to his home country with authorities specifying no particular reason for the same, Indian Express has reported. Osella, who has carried out extensive research on social and cultural transformations in Kerala over the last 30 years, was touted as the face of the conference to be held on Friday in the city on “emerging themes connected to the livelihood and lifeworld of Kerala coastal communities”. When asked about Osella’s deportation, an immigration officer at the Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs) in Thiruvananthapuram airport said the reason for his deportation cannot be revealed. “He was denied entry as per the orders from higher officials. No reason can be revealed,” the officer said. According to Osella, he was told to contact flight assistants when he reached Thiruvananthapuram airport on an Emirates flight on Thursday morning. He was then led to a person who was waiting for him outside. “I was taken to the immigration desks, and processed as it is normally done. But after they scanned my passport, took my

Read it on The Wire here: New Delhi: The Union home ministry on Thursday extended till June 30 the validity of all FCRA registered NGOs whose licences are going to expire at the end of this month and those whose applications are pending for approval. In a notification, the home ministry said the decision has been taken in public interest. According to the home ministry, the validity of the registration certificates of such entities whose validity was extended till March 31 and whose renewal application is pending will stand extended till June 30 or till the date of disposal of renewal application, whichever is earlier. The validity of those FCRA entities whose five years validity period is expiring during April 1 to June 30 and which have applied or apply for renewal before expiry of 5 years validity period will stand extended up to June 30 or till the date of disposal of renewal application, whichever is earlier, it said. The home ministry advised all FCRA registered associations to take note that in case of refusal of the application for renewal of certificate of registration, the validity of the certificate shall be deemed to have expired on the date of refusal of the application of

Read it on The Wire here: Chandigarh: The Haryana Assembly on Tuesday, March 22, passed the Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religious Bill, 2022 amid a walkout staged by Congress legislators who called the law “unconstitutional”. The law attempts to curb religious conversion “through force, undue influence or allurement”. The Bill was introduced in the Assembly on March 4. Haryana now joins 10 other BJP-ruled states, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh where such laws were passed. According to the Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2022, if conversion is done by allurement, use of force, fraudulent means or coercion, then there is a provision for imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of not less than Rs 1 lakh. The burden of proof lies with the accused. As per the Bill, whoever converts or attempts to convert a minor, a woman or a person belonging to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than four years, which may extend to 10 years and liable to fine not less than Rs 3 lakh. Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is the Leader of the Opposition, said

Read it on Christian Science Monitor: Somu Avaradhi has led mass at a local prayer house in India’s southern state of Karnataka every weekend for the past several years. But one Sunday last October, as he parked his car in front of the small building, the pastor noticed something was off. A group of unfamiliar, agitated men had gathered outside. From within the building, he could hear others singing Hindu prayers and chanting “Jai Shri Ram” – a phrase that literally translates to “Victory to Lord Ram,” but has increasingly become a dog whistle for attacks against India’s religious minorities. As soon as he crossed the threshold, a mob of Hindu fundamentalists attacked Mr. Avaradhi with verbal abuse and allegations that he had forced people to convert to Christianity. He and some church members tried retreating to a police station, but a crowd waited there as well. A man whom Mr. Avaradhi denies knowing had filed an official complaint against the pastor for luring him to convert. Mr. Avaradhi was sent to the hospital for injuries sustained in the protest, and arrested soon after. Similar stories have played out across India, where documented attacks against Christians jumped 81% from 2020 to 2021. Mobs

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