India (MNN) — The Hindu Nationalist Party of India is trying to enact an anti-conversion bill in the northern state of Uttarakhand. That brings to eight the number of states in the country who either have such a law on the books or have a proposal circulating in the legislative assembly.
On February 8, the United News of India reported that the BJP promised an anti-conversion law in its manifesto for the Assembly polls in the state.
Gospel For Asia's KP Yohannan says they do have a severe effect, but "in spite of these laws being passed, people are giving their lives to Christ. Jesus said, [speaking to His apostles] '(Upon this rock) I will build my church,' and they paid the price with their lives. And the church continues to grow."
How will this new law affect them? Yohannan says that if the law in Himachal Pradesh is any example, their missionaries are in for a rough time. "Ever since they passed that law, we have had more difficulties and more persecution. We are praying that no matter what, the Gospel will go forth, and we must continue to share the love of Christ with these people, no matter where they are."
However, as has been previously reported by MNN, it appears that the motivation behind proposing anti-conversion bills is to prevent the Hindus from losing power, while at the same time making it easier for the extremists to thwart Christian work, be it evangelistic or humanitarian.
So what kind of field will keep missionaries in place, despite the growing intensity of threats against them? A field like this one: eighty percent of Uttarakhand's six million people are Hindus. Muslims, Sikhs, and Jains make up the minority.
Most of the state remains untouched by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and there are only several thousand Christians. Unlike some other states, evangelism in Uttarakhand is not restricted.