Christian leaders in India are complaining that the nation’s pro-Hindu government is placing unfair restrictions on voluntary organizations receiving foreign funding.
The federal home ministry on Sept. 16 announced changes to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
The new rules require all chief functionaries of voluntary groups to sign affidavits that they have not been prosecuted or convicted for forced religious conversion or creating communal tensions. There are also declaration requirements in relation to not engaging in what the government defines as “sedition” as well as details about the use of foreign funds.
Until now, only the heads of organizations needed to give such an affidavit. Now all office bearers must sign the affidavit and undertake to report any violation of requirements.
The amended rules apply to new registrations and re-registration of organizations after five-year terms expire.
A.C. Michael, a senior office holder of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) that campaigns for Christian rights, said the onerous provisions are unreasonable and appear to be an attempt to discourage Christian leaders from managing voluntary organizations. “Thousands of these organizations are headed by religious leaders who profess and preach their faith,” he said. “It could be another step towards throttling religious freedom.”