India (MNN) — Gujarat becomes the third Indian state in three months to pass anti-conversion legislation. Uttar Pradesh led the way in February with its Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Bill 2021, and Madhya Pradesh followed in March. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rules all three states.
Greg Musselman with Voice of the Martyrs Canada says Gujarat’s new law expands the scope of illegal religious activity. Previously, the law banned forced religious conversions. Now, simply using the “wrong” words could get believers in trouble.
“If a Christian is out telling the good news of Jesus and that when you die you spend eternity in heaven, well that could be considered allurement to divine blessing,” Musselman describes as an example.
It’s a worrisome development. “This is sending shockwaves through the Christian community in Gujarat. If you’re found guilty, you could be imprisoned up to 10 years and fined the equivalent [of] about 500,000 rupees ($6,706),” Musselman continues.
As long as the BJP is in charge, there’s little hope of change.
“They’re expanding the reach of the government with these anti-conversion laws,” Musselman explains.
“The BJP was brought in to [establish] this radical version of Hinduism: if you are Indian, you are Hindu. You can’t be Christian; you can’t be Muslim, you can’t be Sikh.”
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“We pray that these laws would be repealed, and Christians in India would have the freedom to worship and to love their God, and share the message of Jesus, the great hope that comes in Him,” Musselman says.
Header image courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada.