India continues to clamp down on religious minorities

Wednesday, April 14, 2021
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

Christian persecution in India (Reuters photo)Yet another state in India is cracking down on religious minorities, this time with a law that promises religious freedom but, in reality, cracks down on Islam, Christianity and other faiths.

International Christian Concern, the persecution watchdog group, is speaking out after the ruling Bharathiya Janatha Party in Gujarat passed an anti-conversion law April 1 that amends an already-dangerous 2013 law.

Approximately 80% of India’s 1.3 billion people identity as Hindu. Muslims make up the highest number that remain, approximately 14 percent, and Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs are in single digits.  

Gujarat, located on India’s west coast, has a population of approximately 60 million.

William Stark of International Christian Concern tells One News Now the misnamed Freedom of Religion Act makes it illegal to convert from one religion to another without permission from the government.

“So if I were to convert, I would have to give 60 days’ notice to a state official,” he says, “or I could be found in violation of the law, could serve one to three years in prison and could be charged a fine of 50,000 rupees, which is about $700.”

The new law also criminalizes forced conversions but, according to Stark, it defines that as illegal “allurements” if a person is promised a better lifestyle and blessings of any sort. That is a rather small hurdle to achieve in a nation where two-thirds of its people live in poverty.  

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