Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) require federal government permission to partake in missionary activities

Anyone with an OCI card must get government permission if they plan to engage in missionary activities while visiting India. This includes initiating and partaking in such initiatives. The change stemmed from the activities of Tablighi workers who illegally operated during the pandemic to promote their Islamic movement.

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Journalists who hold OCI cards also face restrictions in the new announcement, and require permission from the federal government to operate within India’s borders. The Ministry of Home Affairs also stated that anyone who with an OCI card will only be granted seats categorized under the NRI quota in any educational institutions based on all-India entrance examinations.

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It remains to be seen how the new rules will affect the efforts of Christian missionaries throughout India, especially those who are not already citizens. It is anticipated that the government can track missionary movements and patterns within the country, and deny access to key regions based on the whims of officials. At the very least, this is a setback for the Christian movement in India, in which Keralites and members of the Malayalee diaspora play a leading role.

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