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30. Have there been attempts to have bills to regulate conversions? What is the view of the Christians towards such bills?

      At the time of the debate in the Constituent Assembly, all the gamut of issues relating to conversions were discussed. Given the record of vandalism in the name of Christianity in India, and the strong objections of Mahatma Gandhi towards conversions, many members wanted to put restrictions on conversions. There was also a strong sentiments to even leave the provision of propagation out of the section of fundamental rights. However, after discussions, and due to various compromises, no specific provision was made with respect to prevent conversions due to force, inducements or fraud. It was assumed that such tactics would not be possible in an independent India. Also, due to various definitional niceties adopted, the word propagate was kept as part of the fundamental rights.
    The record of Christianity in an independent India does not conform to the expectations that many thinking persons had of them. The Niyogi Committee documented the improper activities of the missionaries, and made scathing remarks about them. In this state, followed by Orissa and Arunachal Pradesh, bills were introduced to prevent conversions due to force, inducements and fraud. The Supreme Court in 1977 upheld the validity of these bills.
    In 1978, there was a private members bill in Lok Sabha to enact a national legislation on the same lines as the three states. The Christian churches, aided by the laity organisations and the English media, mounted a sustained campaign against the bill. The introduction of the bill did not become possible, and with the changes in the political dispensation, the bill lapsed. The fact that the churches object to the regulation of conversions is a clear sign that they wish to continue their practice of conversions by inducements and fraud, and apply force in subtle ways.
    

See also (Q. 6)
 
&  (Q.31)   


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