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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

FIR against Christian-run orphanage for changing religion of children, including baby girl Sita adopted by foreign couple

An FIR has been filed against a Christian-run orphanage in Bareilly for illegally converting the religion of children living there. One such case involves a baby girl Sita, who was adopted by a Malta-based couple and allegedly converted to Christianity.

Superintendent of Police (Bareilly city), Rahul Bhati, said, “The FIR was registered on a complaint that the orphanage has been changing the religion of children living there and Sita’s example was given as one such case. The facts are being verified.”

Activists have lodged an FIR against the orphanage in Bareilly and the Malta-based couple that has adopted the baby. This comes a week before the child, named Sita, was supposed to travel to Malta.

The FIR has been registered under IPC sections 420 (cheating),467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (fraudulently using document as genuine which is actually a forged one) along with sections 3 and 5 (1) of UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 against an orphanage official, child’s adoptive parents and an unidentified person on the complaint of Bareilly-based activist Anshu Kumar.

Kumar had alleged that the orphanage staff had changed the baby’s faith and made her an Aadhaar card with a new Christian name.

Refuting the allegations, the orphanage superintendent, Primrose Edmond, said, “The adoption was done through the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) following the guidelines of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and under the directions of the Delhi High Court. I do not have any direct role in it. The baby’s name is still ‘Sita’ and her new parents from Malta call her by that name.”

Malta is a small European island nation which lies in the Mediterranean sea between Italy and the North African coast. Hindus constitute a tiny minority of few 1000s out of the total Maltese population of 400,000.

Roman Catholic Christianity is the state religion of Malta and taught in all state schools as part of compulsory education. Hindu Dharma (Hinduism) is labelled a ‘cult’ there. Cremations were not allowed in Malta until its Parliament passed a new law in May 2019, but a functioning crematorium was still nowhere in sight as of October 2020.

In 2010, Hindus approached the Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State, urging him to intervene and ensure that Malta treats all religions equally in front of the law. Their pleas were ignored.

(With IANS inputs)

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