India Forces Employees of Foreign-Funded Nonprofits to Sign Affidavits Vowing Not to Engage in Religious Conversion

Activists from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), shout slogans during a protest march in New Delhi, India, February 24, 2016. Thousands of ABVP members on Wednesday carried out the march against “anti-national sloganeering” raised at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus earlier this month, protesters said. | (Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi)

Authorities in India are reportedly now requiring employees of foreign-funded nonprofits to sign notarized affidavits saying they will not engage in religious conversion.

India’s Home Ministry announced Monday restrictive amendments to the Foreigners Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), according to the Economic Times.

The new requirement comes about two years after the Christian child sponsorship organization Compassion International was forced out of the country over a crackdown on foreign aid.

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced that each member or functionary of a nongovernmental organization will need to file an affidavit attested by a notary declaring that they have not been involved in any act of religious conversion or prosecuted for communal disharmony.

Previous rules required only top office-bearers to give an affidavit when seeking public grants.

The Catholic news outlet Asia News reports that advocacy groups fear that the new rules are meant to target Christian ministries that serve the poor and marginalized.

The head of India’s Home Ministry, Amit Shah, is also the president of the Hindu nationalist-aligned Bharatiya Janata Party.

Since BJP’s rise to power with the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, persecution against Christians and other religious minorities has drastically increased.

“These new modifications will reignite fears that NGOs will be selectively targeted and their FCRA registration canceled and their bank accounts frozen,” Global Council of Indian Christians President Sajan K George told AsiaNews, a press agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

“Every organization whose goals can be interpreted in the broadest sense of sectarian discord, or with accusations of conversion or as a simple ‘violation’ will be included.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith