By Jeremy Reynalds
A human rights agency has learned that Indian authorities asked three American Christian women, including a 15-year-old, to leave India after Hindu organizations accused them of attempting to convert non-Christians by offering them incentives in Alappuzha district, Kerala State.
International Christian Concern (ICC) reported in a news release that according to the report by the Times of India, although Indian police admitted they do not have any evidence indicating that the women participated in proselytizing, they still asked them to leave because the Christian women were about to attend prayer sessions.
ICC reported that Asok Kumar, a superintendent of police in Alappuzha District said, “We have not received any evidence to indicate the three women were engaged in conversion-related activities. However, they were about to attend religious prayer sessions. Their tourist visa does not allow them to attend any meeting, including prayer sessions. We were not clear about their intentions. That is why we asked them to leave the country, and they agreed.”
ICC said although India’s constitution guarantees religious freedom, some local and state government officials restrict the free exercise of religion through “anti-conversion” laws and by a failure to provide adequate protection to persecuted religious minorities, according to the 2010 International Religious Freedom Report by the State Department.
Speaking in a news release, said Jonathan Racho, ICC’s regional manager for South Asia, said “We condemn Indian authorities for ordering the American Christians to leave India because they were about to attend prayer sessions. India is a popular destination for tourists who travel to India to attend religious ceremonies organized by Hindu, Buddhist or other religious groups. Indian officials do not expel tourists who travel to attend such services.”
He added, “It appears that the Indian officials succumbed to the demands of radical Hindu groups when they expelled the three Christians. We urge the US government to look into this matter and take appropriate measures to pressure India to respect the religious freedom of Christians and other religious minorities.”
ICC asked those interested readers to call their representatives and bring the actions of Indian officials to their attention.
ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide.
For more information go to www.persecution.org