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PERSECUTION WATCH

Christians Protest Anti-Conversion Bill in Gujarat, India

By Dan Wooding
Assist News Service

CBN.com -- SECUNDERABAD, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA (ANS) -- Christians around the world have been urged to protest the anti-conversion bill being introduced into the Gujarat assembly.

Dr. Joseph D'souza, president of the All India Christian Council has asked Christians to pray against and protest the bill, which he described as being against the India constitution.

In an urgent AICC communiqu, D'souza said, "Dear partners and friends of the All India Christian Council. This is another urgent and important communication from us that requires your urgent action and lobbying and prayer.

"Right behind the attempt to take the census of Christians in Gujarat, the Government of Gujarat has now tabled the anti-conversion bill. It is being introduced in the Gujarat assembly, and will be passed by the end of next week since the BJP government has a brute majority and will not listen to the voice of freedom, democracy and even the Indian constitution.

"Please note that the Gujarat bill which is again mischievously called the Freedom of Religion bill goes further than the one introduced in Tamilnadu, in that now it requires a person to take the permission of a district magistrate before he changes his faith. All this is ostensibly done to prevent the use of force and fraudulent means of conversion.

"It is clear that it is the State and the BJP which is using brute state force to prevent the Tribals, Dalits and others who want to choose other faiths and liberate themselves from inhuman discrimination. The mass exodus of the Dalits in the last couple of years to other faiths is the main reason for these draconian laws. Above all this law is anti-Dalit and continues their brutal oppression.

"The Dalits have been one of the most dehumanized people in the world numbering over 250 million people."

D'souza said that the All India Christian Council is launching a major appeal in the High Court of Gujarat against this draconian bill.

"We encourage all those who receive this communiqu to act now and contact those whom you know to register their objection to this violation of the fundamental rights of the Indian citizen guaranteed by the Indian Constitution."

He said that concerned people should write to the Prime Minister of India and also to the President of India. "Each letter counts," he said.

Here is the contact information:

The President of India: His Excellency, The President of India

Fax: +91 11 301 7290

The Prime Minister of India: Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Honorable Prime Minister of India

Fax: +91 11 301 6857

The All India Christian Council website can be found at http://www.aiccindia.org/ and its president, Dr. Joseph D'souza can be reached at his cell phone which is (706) 888-5924. This is a US number that will be transferred to India.

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Assist News Service is brought to you in part by Open Doors USA, a ministry that has served the Suffering Church around the world for nearly 50 years. You can get more information by logging onto their website at www.opendoorsusa.org

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