After the government of India ruled out the possibility of a nationwide law against conversions, Christian leaders rejoiced and appealed to the government to repeal anti-conversion laws in eight states where it is being misused.
On February 2, G. Kishan Reddy, a junior minister in the Ministry of Home Affairs, ended speculation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning such a law targeting Christians and Muslims in the country, UCA News reported.
He told the national parliament that "Prosecution of offenses related to religious conversions is primarily the concerns of state governments and union (federal) territory administrations."
Christian leaders welcomed the assurance and appreciated the government.
"The federal government is in the right direction in this announcement. It is in tune with the constitution, and the Church appreciates it," said the Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Pamplany, a member of the Office of the Doctrine of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI).
"We have come across gross misuse of anti-conversion laws in states where they exist. They are also deliberately used to target the minorities, including Christians and their institutions.”
"Any anti-conversion law is against the constitution," he said, adding that "any law made against the spirit of the constitution cannot be justified.”
“The constitution has guaranteed people to choose and practice whatever religion one wishes to."
"No doubt the federal government has done the right thing, and we appreciate it," he said.
Shibu Thomas, the founder of Persecution Relief, told UCA News that "We have been praying against such laws in the country, and God has heard our prayer.”
He appreciated the announcement but at the same time exhorted the federal government to take steps to repeal anti-conversion laws in eight states where it is being misused “to ensure that no one is deprived of their constitutional right to choose one's religion."
"We don't convert anyone as was being made out against us," Thomas added.