Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has given clean chit to a Catholic bishop and five others in a nine-year-old religious conversion case.There is “no sufficient evidence to frame the charges against the petitioners,” says the order by the principal bench headed by Justice S K Gangele. The April 11 order was released to the media on April 20.The court based at Jabalpur acquitted Bishop Mathew Vaniakizhakkel of Satna, two priests, a nun and two others who work in the central Indian diocese.
Extreme Hindu activists kidnapped pastor Rampal Kori ,38, Nand Lal ,49, a member of his church, on July 21 night from a house at Mauganj tehsil in Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh, where they were leading a prayer meeting
According to Pastor Kori, their abductors tied them to a tree and beat them up with wooden sticks, kicked and punched accusing them of indulging in religious conversion, a charge they deny.
Even though the police rescued them in an early morning operation, on July 22, eight hours after their abduction, they were sent to jail on the same day charging them with hurting Hindu religious sentiments and violating the provisions of the stringent anti-conversion law that restrains conversion through allurement or force.
India’s laws restricting religious conversions–intended to protect people from being forced to change their beliefs — are an obstacle to religious freedom, a senior United Nations figure said in an interview.Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN’s special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, spoke to The Wall Street Journal last week.
Madhya Pradesh anti-conversion law 'a threat to democracy'
by Nirmala Carvalho
A few days before the 67th Independence Anniversary the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) asks state governor not to sign the amendment to the current law. The amendment would impose penalties of up to four years in prison and fines for those who try to convert without notifying the authorities and also for priests.