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Christian leader feels media reports regarding anti-conversion law are enough for radicals to be more aggressive
Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 2:29 (IST)
In recent weeks, violence against Christians in north Indian is rising. Local Christians believe the uproar started after Zee News announced that BJP government intents to propose an anti-conversion bill in the next parliament session.
One of the Christian leaders from Chhattisgarh, who wanted to remain anonymous, told International Christian Concern (ICC) that Christians are already feeling the heat of the news that the government is preparing to bring a national anti-conversion law. Chhattisgarh already has a similar law and believers are paying heavily as a consequence. "Just the media reports are enough for the radicals on the ground to be more aggressive," the Christian leader said.
Including Chhattisgarh, the anti-conversion law, officially known as the Freedom of Religion Acts, is enacted in eight states in the country. This includes Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Odisha and Gujarat.
In another incident that took place recently, Hindu radicals broke into pastor Mohan Massih's house in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, while he was praying with two other people. The radicals started shouting slogans and beat them up before handing over to the police. They justified their violence by accusing pastor Massih of forced conversions. Since the anti-conversion law is still not passed in Uttar Pradesh, the police booked pastor Massih under IPC Section 295-A for committing blasphemy. The pastor was released on August 27, after spending 18 days in jail.
As per ICC, in Uttar Pradesh alone, 29 incidents of violence against Christians have been recorded in the past three months. All the allegations were concerning forced conversions. Radicals use this as a reason to justify harassment of Christian leaders, closure of churches and physical assaults. Even the local police officials overlook the harassment because of the false accusation.
Christians across the country are concerned about the nationwide anti-conversion law proposed by the government. Even though Christians are accused of engaging in mass conversions, till now, no one is convicted of forced conversion in the country.