Official Data Defy Claims About Christian Conversions in Maharashtra

Published 07 February 2018  |  
IANS
Indigenous Christians in India's eastern Jharkhand state demonstrate against an anti-conversion bill in state capital Ranchi on Oct. 31, 2017. The law reportedly aims to curb conversion of Hindus by Christian missionary activities.

The claims that missionaries convert thousands to Christianity contradict the government data. People converting to Christianity remain more or less the same to the number of Christians leaving their religion in Maharashtra.

In the last two and half years, 1,683 people have changed their religion in the state, according to official figures. They include 1,166 Hindus, 263 Muslims, 165 Christians, 53 Buddhists, 16 Sikhs, nine Jains, four Neo-Buddhists and 11 others.

Of the 165 Christians, 100 chose Hindus, 47 became Muslims, 11 picked up Buddhism, five opted Jainism and two took Sikhism as their religion, according to UCAnews.com.

On the other hand, during the same period only 173 people converted to Christianity. Of these, 138 were from Hinduism, 21 from Islam, and 14 from Buddhism and Jainism.

In April 2017, the state discussed a move to introduce anti-conversion law, which media reports said was aimed at banning conversion of Hindus by Christian missionaries.

While the state is yet to make such a law, similar draconic law exist in seven other states, which criminalizes changing religion without getting permission from government authorities.

Christian leaders say these moves by the state are targeting missionary activities as their contribution in the field of education and health care in the rural India could be interpreted as "fraud, force or allurement."

Contrary to such claims, the data says a majority of Hindus in the state who opted to change their religion have converted to Islam, just as a greater part of Muslims preferred to choose Hinduism.

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