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India: Conversions banned in Himachal Pradesh

February 21, 2007
The Evangelical Fellowship of India expresses deep regret over Shri Justice Vishnu Sadashiv Kokje, the Hon’ble governor of Himachal Pradesh’s decision to assent to the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2006.
Though the Act seemingly bans conversion by coercion or allurement, similar Acts have been misused in other states to harass Christian workers and at times, even hinder genuine conversions.

The Act forbids any attempt of a person to convert from one religion to another through inducement or fraud. Those found to be at fault will be imprisoned up to two years and/or will also be fined Rs twenty thousand.
A person wishing to convert has to give 30 days prior information to the district magistrate of the district. The magistrate will then arrange an investigation to check the motives of the person wishing to convert.
The State Assembly passed the Bill in the end of December last year.