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31. Please give the summary of the recommendations of The Niyogi Committee Report On Christian Missionary Activities, 1956.

      This committee was set up in 1954, because of serious concerns being expressed by various people about the activities of the Christian missionaries in the tribal areas of what is now Madhya Pradesh. It went about its task in terms of meeting people, as well as doing field work. It also perused the printed material of the Christian missionaries, to understand the way they set about doing their task. Though one of the members of the committee was a Christian himself, the Christians have criticised the report as biased. However, most others have commended the report. The whole process of the work of the committee was during a time when there was a Congress government both at the centre and the state.
     It is pertinent to note that the methods of fraud and inducements that the committee came across, continue even today. It would appear that the methods of the missionaries have not really changed. The following is a summary of the recommendations which have been made:

  1. Those missionaries whose primary object is proselytisation should be asked to withdraw. The large influx of foreign missionaries is undesirable and should be checked.

  2. The use of medical or other professional services as a means of making conversions should be prohibited by law.

  3. Any attempt by force or fraud, threats of illicit means, grants of financial or other aid, by moral and material assistance, by exploiting any person's necessity, spiritual (mental) weakness or thoughtlessness, should be banned.

  4. Any attempt or effort, whether successful or not, directly or indirectly to penetrate into the religious conscience of persons whether of age or underage, of another faith, for the purpose of consciously altering their religious conscience or faith, so as to agree with the ideas or convictions of the proselytising party should be absolutely prohibited.

  5. Government should issue an appeal to the Christian missionary organisations, and the Christian community, to lay down in clear terms the policy they will follow in respect of propagating their religion, the methods to be followed in conversions, the type of propaganda which will be promoted and the attempts which will be made to confine their evangelistic activities within the limits of Indian Constitution.

  6. An amendment of the Constitution of India may be sought, firstly to clarify that the right of propagation has been given only to the citizens of India, and secondly that it does not include conversion brought about by force, fraud or other illicit means.

  7. Suitable control on conversion activities brought about through illegal means should be imposed. If necessary, legislation measures should be enacted.

  8. Circulation of literature meant for religious propaganda without approval of the State Government should be prohibited.

  9. No foreigner should be allowed to function in a Scheduled or a Specified areas either independently or as a member or a religious institution unless he has given a declaration in writing that he will not take part in proselytisation.


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