Tensions Mount in India State Over Christian Convention

The government in India's western state of Rajasthan says it is to introduce a law banning religious conversion, news agencies reported this week. Sources say the move follows tension between Hindus and a Christian mission group holding its annual convention.

On Wednesday, police used force to disperse Hindu activists who were trying to enter the Christian convention in Kota, 250km (155 miles) from the state capital, Jaipur.

Six people, including three policemen, were reportedly injured in the incident.

According to BBC News, Hindu activists from groups such as the Bajrang Dal and the World Hindu Council, or Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), say the Kota convention, which began on Wednesday, is being used for conversion to Christianity.

In addition, the state government, run by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), reported that more than 60 mainly-U.S. foreigners were at the Kota mission had come on tourist visas and had no right to participate in such functions.

“We will not allow anyone to convert poor and illiterate people," said State home minister Gulab Chand Kataria who stated that the Christian mission had not reported its program to the administration.

Although state governments in India do have the power to introduce anti-conversion laws, the VHP welcomed the state government's move.

Meanwhile, sources report that Hindu activists have set up checkpoints on roads leading to the convention, stopping delegates who are coming from all over India and abroad.