In India, thousands of Christians are protesting against the Religious Conversions Bill, how before the country's Parliament.
SV: group of priests leading procession in New Delhi.
GV: demonstrators including women carrying banners. (4 shots)
The Indian Government is reported to be undecided on how to deal with the bill when it is presented for ratification. Mr. Desai has already indicated that his Government could not be expected to support the bill in its present form.
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Background: In India, thousands of Christians are protesting against the Religious Conversions Bill, how before the country's Parliament. If adopted, the bill could mean jail sentences for people convicted of forcing or bribing others to change their religion.
SYNOPSIS: In New Delhi on Monday (14 May) nearly ten thousand christians staged a silent march through the city to demonstrate their opposition to the Religious Conversions Bill. Leaders of India's fifteen million Christians fear that, if the bill it approved, religious conversions would become a matter for police investigation. Christians also believe that the bill could lead to harassment of priests and missionaries.
Speakers later addressed the demonstrators. Many claimed the proposed law would violate the right of citizens to practice and propagate the religion of their choice.
Indian's Prime Minister, Morarji Desai, said earlier that the bill seeks only to deal with conversion by fraud, coercion or inducement. Mr. Desai said there would be no harassment of those involved in purely religious activities.