Anti-conversion bill resurfaces in Eastern India.

By January 2, 2006

India (MNN)–The government of Jharkhand State (Eastern India) is considering an anti-conversion bill.

While the legislation is aimed at protecting the tribal culture, Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton calls it ‘an area of concern’. “The idea of the bill is that nobody can be converted through enticement or through bribery or through paying them off which is a good thing. The sad thing is what this bill will be used for is to harass Christian ministries who are reaching people simply with the message of the Gospel,” which could have a ‘chilling effect’ on evangelistic work.

Nettleton says they haven’t seen the wording of the bill yet, but there has been precedent set in five States. “If it similar to the bills that we have seen in some of the individual states in India, as well as in nearby Sri Lanka, it will likely have a fine associated maybe with a first offense, and could eventually, with repeated offenses, lead to jail time.”

According to figures released from the Jharkhand government the state’s total population is at nearly 27 million, with Christians numbering four percent. Christian missionaries are especially active in tribal dominated areas, approximately 27 percent of the state’s population.

Leave a Reply