India: Supreme Court rejects control of Christian missionaries

India’s Supreme Court on March 25, 2022 rejected a request from the Hindu nationalist group HDP (Hindu Dharma Parishad) calling for the establishment of a monitoring commission to monitor the activities of Christian missionaries in India.

The judges of the Supreme Court replied that such an initiative was more like a publicity stunt, did not serve the public interest and disrupted inter-community harmony.

A decision in favor of the Christian minority…

The petition was first rejected by the Madras High Court last year. The Supreme Court, in rejecting this year’s petition, warned the HDP that a fine would be imposed if it filed a similar application again.

Hindu nationalist groups claim that “anti-social and anti-national” individuals forcibly convert people from Hinduism to other religions, and particularly to Christianity. The text proposes, “to strengthen the unity, sovereignty and stability of India, that all Christian missionaries should be controlled as well as their income”.

… when attacks on Christians multiply

In India, which has more than 1.3 billion people, the vast majority of whom are Hindus, attacks on a small Christian minority, just 2.3% of the population, have doubled during 2021, the Paris Foreign Mission agency reports.

On October 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Pope Francis at the Vatican and invited him to visit India despite hostility from radical Hindu groups. “The prime minister was photographed with the pope and as soon as he returned, a commotion started in the state of Karnataka with the introduction of an anti-conversion law,” commented John Dayal, a devout Catholic and -word of All Catholic Union.

The Karnataka State Legislative Assembly, led by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), the Hindu nationalist party of the Prime Minister, passed the Karnataka Religious Freedom Protection Act on 24 December, continues Asian Churches.

This anti-conversion law, ironically called the religious freedom law, criminalizes Christian and Muslim men who want to marry Hindu women. The state of Haryana, in northern India, is the eleventh state in the country to consider a law banning religious conversion, despite demonstrations by members of the opposition who see the policy as divisive.

The local pro-Hindu BJP government presented a new law on illegal religious conversion on March 4 to the Haryana legislature (Conversion of Religious Bills Against the Law2022).

If the law is passed, announce it Asian Churches, Haryana will be subject to the same laws previously passed by the BJP. Nine other states besides Karnataka – Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand – have passed their own anti-conversion laws.

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