The Catholic Church “is against all conversions done by force or deception. At the same time, it defends the right of everyone to profess and spread their faith,” said Mgr Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).
The prelate’s statement comes in the wake of the alleged abduction of two Hindu girls in the Pakistani province of Sindh, who were later forced to convert to Islam and marry two Muslim men. The issue has revived India-Pakistan tensions.
For Archbishop Mascarenhasm “freedom of religion is sacred.” The incident involving the two girls has widened the rift between the two neighbours, already defined by religious differences – Hindu India vs Muslim Pakistan – which was the basis of the violent partition of the British Raj in 1947.