by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The Chief Minister of India’s Haryana state has announced he proposes to add a Freedom of Religion Act that would criminalize forced conversions, Persecution.org reports. Commonly referred to as anti-conversion laws, such legislation has already been enacted in eight other Indian states. The announcement on June 16 by Manohar Lal Khattar has reportedly caused serious concerns to Haryana Christians: radical Hindus have used this law in other states to justify attacks on Christians and their places of worship.
Speaking to International Christian Concern (ICC), Pastor Vineoy, head pastor of an independent ministry in Haryana said: “There is a growing sense of fear and intimidation in the state. Threats from religious fanatics are common for pastors serving in rural villages. A majority suffers silently, and nobody comes to their aid, not even local authorities.”
ICC explains the concern is that anti-conversion legislation will offer legal justification for radical nationalists to persecute Haryana’s Christian community. ICC lists Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttrakhand among areas where these laws are already being “widely abused” to harass Christians.
According to ICC, radical nationalists harass and assault believers whom they falsely accuse of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity. Local police reportedly turn a blind eye to the persecution.
ICC also notes that, while many Christians have been arrested on suspicion of forcing conversions in India since such legislation first made an appearance in 1967, to date there have been no convictions.
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