India (MNN) — Hostility rises in southern India as officials push for religious restrictions. If a proposed anti-conversion law passes, Karnataka will become the fourth state this year to make forced conversions illegal.
Voice of the Martyrs Canada partner Nitin Sardar says Hindu nationalism propagates anti-conversion laws. “It is for their convenience they made those laws so that they can target the minorities,” Sardar explains.
“When the persecution comes, it is very hard.”
According to International Christian Concern, persecution spiked in Karnataka after officials announced the proposed law. Approximately 6,000 Christians gathered last week to protest the legislation and increased attacks.
The power of media
Sardar says media outlets inside India fan the flames of unrest. Watch Sardar’s entire conversation with VOM Canada here.
“[The] media is bribed [and] controlled by, the government. [They publish a] one-side story every time. They [are] only bringing accusations; they only want [to publish a story when] bad practices are done in the church,” he explains.
“Media creates [an] understanding in people’s heart or mind that Christians are very bad people.”
In other words, people can say believers forced them to become Christian. That accusation, whether true or not, enables police to arrest and imprison believers. Media outlets cover the arrest and charge but never the follow-up, leading audiences to believe the accusation is true.
“Because the charges were fabricated and never proven, people have only one side,” Sardar says.
Despite increased targeting and biased reporting, believers persevere, and the Body of Christ is growing in India. “God’s work never stops, and you will see more believers coming out of [a] persecuted area and standing for the Lord,” Sardar says.
“A few months later, or one year later, you’ll see the growth. God didn’t stop, and that is encouraging for us to see.”
Call to prayer
Diwali begins today, India’s most important holiday of the year. This festival is as significant to Hindus as Resurrection Sunday is to Christians.
Pray God will move powerfully during Diwali and radically change the hearts of devout Hindus. Pray persecutors will come to Christ in Karnataka and beyond.
Ask the Lord to help Christians withstand persecution. “Nobody likes persecution because it goes against our flesh,” Sardar says.
“We all want comfort, but when we welcome that (persecution), in the name of Jesus, God gives fresh love for the people.”
Header image courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada.