India: New Anti-conversion Law Worries Christians

Quelle: FSSPX News

Yogi Adithyhath and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

A new law criminalizing the transition from Hinduism to another religion has just been passed in India's most populous state, further weakening the living conditions of the Christian minority. The Church protested, in vain, in an area entrusted to a religious extremist, which has become the laboratory of the hindutva, or return to the Hindu religion.

Yogi Adityanath rejoices. Dressed in a saffron-colored toga, a red mark on his forehead, the cartilage of his ear split by an earring (a sign of his belonging to a guild of master yogis to whom are attributed superhuman magical powers), the sulphureous Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has just passed a new anti-conversion law.

In this most populous state of India with 200 million inhabitants—mostly Hindu, where Christianity represents 0.18% of the population—the new law, came in effect on February 24, 2021, replacing a November 2020 ordinance which intended to prohibit the transition from Hinduism to another religion.

Henceforth, it is stipulated that no person should pass, “directly or indirectly from one religion to another, by the use of false declarations, of force, of deceptive ruse, of seduction, or by any other fraudulent means such as marriage; moreover, no one should encourage such a conversion,” as the newspaper The Hindu sums it up in its February 24 edition.

And as if that were not enough, it will be up to the accused to provide proof that the conversion for which he is held responsible was not carried out by force: a way of encouraging denunciation and of obtaining convictions more easily.

For offenders, the law provides for a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a fine of 564 euros.

“There was no need for a new law, especially since the state already has a decree regarding the control of religious conversions. This is worrying as it can be hijacked by majority groups in the name of forced religious conversions to the detriment of minority groups,” said Msgr. Gerald John Mathias, Bishop of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh.

And the prelate added, worried: “As a Church, we are engaged in many charitable activities, and our main concern is that they can denounce anything as an attempt at seduction. Any charitable activity can be denounced as an attempt to convert.”

Same story with Msgr. Joseph Pamplany: the auxiliary bishop of Tellicherry and member of the Commission for Doctrine of the Conference of Bishops of India, denounces this new anti-conversion law which, “under the pretext of controlling conversion on the basis of flattery or by force, targets religious minorities, especially Christians and Muslims.”

So many reactions that make Yogi Adityanath smile. As this staunch supporter of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi states, “There is only one way to protect Indian culture: to protect the gau (cows), the Ganges, and the goddess Gayatri. Only the community that can protect this heritage will survive.”