India (MNN) — Another anti-conversion amendment takes effect tomorrow in India, this time in Gujarat. “It’s now the ninth state that has an anti-conversion law in place, and these amendments make them stronger,” John Pudaite of Bibles For The World says.
“It’s directed against Christians and Muslims, and this is something that the BJP Party and the pro-Hindu factions have been pushing.”
Allegedly, Gujarat’s latest amendment targets forced conversions by marriage, but believers remain skeptical.
Many states have passed new anti-conversion laws or amendments in recent months under the auspices of fighting “love jihad.” Indian authorities claim Muslim men marry Hindu women to convert them to Islam. They accuse Christians of having similar motives. However, the facts don’t appear to support this assertion.
“It is interesting that, while we have these anti-conversion laws in place, nobody has been convicted in the courts of forced conversion,” Pudaite says.
“We see them coming up in state after state, but, at the same time, nobody’s being taken to court or final trial on it. It’s giving license for things to happen at the ground level – the persecution, the beatings – because [minorities are], allegedly, breaking this law.”
Anti-conversion laws are on the rise as the Bharatiya Janata Party pushes to make India a Hindu nation. More about that here.
The laws “give [persecutors] sort of a ‘floating ground’ to base [their] false charges on, and they’ve got the backing of state and local governments when they do this,” Pudaite says.
“This is just going to set the stage for more oppression, more persecution of the body of Christ in India.”
Pray for believers as they distribute Bibles in this tense atmosphere.
“[It] continues to be a season where our partners have to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Pray that they will have wisdom from the Lord, be strong in their faith and that they will continue to reach out with the message of salvation through Jesus Christ,” Pudaite requests.
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Claudette Bleijenberg/Unsplash.