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Indian bishops protest court judgment linking missionary's murder to conversions

Catholic World News - January 24, 2011

The Catholic bishops of India have protested a statement by the nation’s highest court insinuating that religious conversions were at the roots of anti-Christian violence. “The Church is seriously concerned,” lamented the Indian bishops in a statement on January 24, about the remarks made by the federal Supreme Court judgment in its verdict on the triple murder of Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines and his two sons in 1999 in eastern Orissa state. While confirming the life imprisonment sentence of Dara Singh, who had led the mob that torched Graham and his young sons, the supreme court commented: "It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone’s belief by way of ‘use of force,’ provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other.” By linking the missionary murder to conversion, the Indian bishops’ statement pointed out, the court was giving credence to the propaganda that “religious conversion was the triggering factor behind the ghastly crime.”

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