Bihar, two Christian Nepalese couples stops for ' forced conversions’ Nirmala Carvalho
The four Nepalese have evangelized for a month some quarters of the city of Muzaffarpur. They are accused of attempting to convert the poor with money entrapments. But there is no evidence. The Indian Constitution guarantees the right to propagate its faith.
New Delhi (AsiaNews)-Two Christian Nepalese couples were arrested by the police because they were accused by a group of locals of possible "forced conversions". The president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (Gcic), Sajan K George, reminds AsiaNews that the Indian Constitution guarantees the "right to freedom of conscience and to profess, practise and propagate religion".
The couples, of which the name was not revealed, come from the Nepalese town of Chiton Narayangarh and were about a month in Muzaffarpur (Bihar). In this month, the two couples were guests in a hotel in the Ahodia market area, but every day they visited an area of the city, preaching Christianity and addressing especially to the poor and illiterate.
A local adviser and his mother-in-law were the first to criticize the Nepalese and filed a complaint against the two couples, accusing to convert people by fraudulent means. They have added six other people with the same complaint: to have as their objective the poor and to push them to embrace Christianity with tempting promises.
On the first of August the Nepalese were then stopped at the police station of Kaji Mohammedpur. They refuse the accusation of having used money entrapments to push the poor to convert to Christianity: They say they have only used their word, speaking of Christianity and things written in the Bible.
Sajan K George laments the growth of the number of "arrests of Christians, under the false accusations of forced conversions." For a long time in 7 states of India there is a law prohibiting forced conversions, behind promises of money or brainwashing. The last state that launched this law is the Jharkhand. This law does not hinder conversions, but obliges a cumbersome state verification of the reasons why a person is converted.
The situation has worsened since the BJP, the Hindu nationalist party, has taken power at the central level by throwing suspicions about every conversion and the work of evangelization of the Christian churches.
The case of Nepalese couples is an example: The four were in fact evangelizing, but the accusations say that they attempted the poor with entrapments, without carrying any evidence. "Art 25 (1) of the Indian Constitution-affirms the president of the Gcic-says that ' all people ', not only the Indian citizens, are entitled to freedom of conscience and to profess, practise and propagate religion freely. Sharing the good news is not an illegal or criminal gesture. To share with others The gospel is not a crime, yet [the Nepalese] have been arrested. India is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural society with constitutional guarantees. "
"For our independent India-concludes-it is a great shame that Christians, a tiny 2.3% of the population, live in a climate of fear and intimidation