Christian leaders in northeastern India have expressed solidarity with the Christians of Karnataka who earlier voiced opposition to a move to introduce a bill banning “forcible” religious conversion.
“We stand with the Christians of Karnataka. Their concerns are our concerns,” said Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati, president of the North East India Regional Bishops’ Council.
He said the anti-conversion bill is “discriminatory against Christians and even against Hindu as the state believes that people will sell their souls for alleged allurements.”
“We do not object to the government’s move to find the details of institutions of different religions but let it be of every religion and not of Christians alone,” said the archbishop.
The prelate also reiterated the constitutional rights of every Indian citizen “to change his religion.”
Taw Tebin, president of the Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association, also expressed support to the opposition to the proposed bill.
“Nobody can forcefully convert anyone. It is not the Christians doing ‘forcible conversion’ but it is the government that is doing forcible conversion by imposing something that is not tenable to the Constitution and detrimental to the secular fabrics of our country,” he said.
Allen Brooks, spokesperson for the United Christian Forum of North East India, said what is happening in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh “is a way to dilute the constitutional rights of everyone in the country.”
Sister Euginia Laloo, social communication director of the Salesian Sisters in Meghalaya, said Christians in India are constantly under attack from government.
“This move from government will not only encourage lumpen elements but also disturb the peaceful atmosphere of our country,” said the nun.
The government in Karnataka has earlier proposed to conduct a survey on Christian presence and activities.