Chief Minister of Assam Resigns Over Controversial “Conversion Data” Letter

“The letter is completely unjustified. Assamese and Assamese citizens desire to coexist in harmony with all communities “Sarma said.

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Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister of Assam, today expressed his disagreement with a contentious letter from the Assam police requesting information on religious conversions and church credentials. He said that corrective actions had been implemented.

A letter from the Assam police’s special branch to district administrations asking for information on religious conversions and the number of churches was leaked to the media as the nation celebrated Christmas, sparking a new controversy even as Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tried to distance himself from the letter.

The district SPs have been asked to provide information by December 22 on the number of churches that have been established in the last year, the number of churches that already exist, instances of religious conversion in the last six years, and the individuals involved in conversion activities. A copy of the letter, written by a Superintendent of Police (SP) with the special branch, is available with NDTV.

“I believe it is inappropriate for us to inquire about things like the number of churches in Assam. This might offend a specific religious group’s sensibilities. I want to make clear the Assam government’s viewpoint. We don’t wish to conduct any surveys on any churches or other places of worship, for that matter. I basically distance myself from the letter totally. In no government forum was it ever brought up. The letter is completely unjustified. We desire to coexist peacefully with all communities as Assamese and Assamese citizens. I believe the DGP would act right away to fix the situation “Sarma, the chief minister, remarked.

On December 16, the letter was sent, and copies were also addressed to Principal Secretary Niraj Verma of the home department and Special Director General of Police (DGP) GP Singh.

Assam authorities detained three Swedish nationals and later seven German nationals in October for breaking the terms of their tourist visas by participating in missionary work in the districts of Dibrugarh and Karbi Anglong. After paying a $500 fine each for breaking the visa regulations, they were deported.

Assembly elections in Meghalaya and Nagaland, two Northeastern states having a plurality of Christians, are scheduled for within the next two months.

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