India: Religious Freedom

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 1st November 2018.

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Photo of Steve Double Steve Double Conservative, St Austell and Newquay

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for freedom of religion in India of the recent action by Indian authorities against religious groups as a result of anti-conversion laws; and whether he has made representations to his Indian counterpart on that issue.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State

Voluntary conversion to a different religion is not a criminal offence in India. However, laws are active in six of India's 29 states that seek to prevent 'forced' conversion and make the legal process altogether more difficult.

On freedom of religion more broadly, the British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions regularly meet with minority communities, including the National Commission of Minority Affairs. Additionally we have trained nine hundred minority students on faith issues in six universities across North India, and funded a community cohesion project which created a platform for 125 youth champions drawn from 26 colleges. This engaged with diverse religious communities through a series of workshops to initiate change, within themselves, their peers, and family as well as encouraging greater dialogue and understanding across communities.

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