The eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has passed a law criminalizing religious conversions despite similar laws in six other states being used by hard-line Hindu groups to target Christians.
The bill passed the state legislative assembly on Aug. 12. Critics see irony in the title of the Religious Freedom Bill 2017. It has faced increasing opposition since Aug. 1 when it was cleared by the state cabinet of the ruling pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state government.
Chief Minister Raghuvar Das has been pushing for the bill since December 2014 when his party and coalition partners came to power.