Heated debate surrounds India’s religious freedom status

By April 19, 2021

India (MNN) — The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom faces pressure on Wednesday’s annual report debut. The stress revolves around India.

Dozens of international watchdogs want the USCIRF to label India as a “Country of Particular Concern,” which it did for the first time last year. Allies of the Indian government insist the committee reverse that decision in this year’s report.

“The trend is on the uptick in terms of persecution against Christians. That has Christian leaders, pastors, those that work with persecuted Christians, very concerned about what’s happening in India,” Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Greg Musselman says.

Persecution has dramatically increased since Hindu nationalists rose to power in 2014. More about that here. Several states have passed, or are in the process of passing, anti-conversion laws. Radicals use the laws as an excuse to attack Christian communities and individual believers.

Last month, a student group of radical Hindu nationalists harassed a group of nuns traveling by train. The women had to step out at a railway station, where they faced accusations of forced conversion.

“These anti-conversion laws are the latest opposition,” Musselman says. Earlier this month, India’s Supreme Court turned down an attempt to nationalize the anti-conversion movement.

“The pastors and leaders that understand what the Bible teaches about persecution are preparing their people.”

Ask the Lord to help His followers throughout India. “We need to be praying that our brothers and sisters would have wisdom in how they meet and how they conduct themselves, what they say,” Musselman says.

(Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada)

“There are people that will come into churches as plants and then report back to the government, and that can lead to arrests.”

Pray for healing from physical, mental, emotional, and sexual assaults. Pray for courage to continue sharing Christ despite opposition. “Some of our partners are very concerned,” Musselman says.

“How many opportunities will they have to openly share the Gospel of Jesus?”

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After the Death and Resurrection of Christ, Thomas became acquainted with Habban, a merchant of King Gondophare of India. It was in the company of this merchant that Thomas landed at Cranganore on the Malabar Coast of present day Kerala in 52 A.D.
(Photo, caption courtesy Nithi Anand via Flickr/CC2.0)