Pope criticises anti-conversion laws in India
Pope John Paul II has spoken out against new anti-conversion laws in some Indian states and urged the church in India to "courageously" proclaim the gospel.
He told a group of Indian bishops meeting at the Vatican: "This is not an easy task, especially in areas where people experience animosity, discrimination and even violence because of their religious convictions or tribal affiliation."
"These difficulties are exacerbated by the increased activity of a few Hindu fundamentalist groups which are creating suspicion of the church and other religions," he said.
"Unfortunately, in some regions the state authorities have yielded to the pressures of these extremists and have passed unjust conversion laws, prohibiting free exercise of the natural right to religious freedom, or withdrawing state support for those in the scheduled castes who have chosen to christianity."
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5 Jun 2003