Converts to be prosecuted for violating Religion Act

Bhubaneswar, July 27

FIFTEEN OUT of nineteen persons who had recently embraced Christianity in Korua village of Kendrapara district have reconverted to the Hindu fold after undergoing sustained social ostracism from their fellow villagers.

The district administration has also decided to prosecute the converts for violating provisions of the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act (OFRA).

The re-conversion took place on Thursday evening in front of the village deity with the performance of certain rituals. The reconverts would also visit Puri and fulfill other rituals necessary for coming back into the Hindu fold, a district official said. The district administration, coping with unprecedented floods in Kendrapara, is yet to ascertain the details of the re-conversion incident.

Anup Patnaik, Inspector General of Police (operations) said there was however, no tension or any threat to the law and order situation.

Last week one of the converts had told Hindustan Times that they will be compelled to enter the Hindu fold again in order to survive. But those who reconverted into the Hindu fold, maintain that they took the step voluntarily for which they sought help of the villagers. Meanwhile, the Kendrapara district administration has started preparing a prosecution report against the 19 converts on charges of violating provisions of the OFRA, which stipulates that any person wishing to change his/her religion should first intimate the district administration about it. This was not done in the present case.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: July 27, 2001
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