Indian state’s ‘anti-conversion law’ to be repealed

By Anto Akkara | World Watch Monitor

Christian groups have welcomed a surprise announcement by a nationalist chief minister of a state in north-east India that he will ensure that a law preventing conversions from one faith to another is repealed.

Pema Khandu, a Buddhist who heads the nationalist BJP-led state government in Arunachal Pradesh, told an audience of more than 2,000 Catholics that he would have the 1978 Freedom of Religion Act repealed in the next session of the Legislative Assembly.

He said the law, which, in sharp contrast to its name, places heavy restrictions on religious conversions, “could undermine secularism and is probably targeted towards Christians”. (In India, talk of “secularism” relates to treating all religions with equal respect, rather than the separation of religion and politics.)

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