India’s anti-conversion laws draw global criticism

By November 28, 2022

India (MNN) — Representatives from 21 countries are asking India to improve the religious freedom of minorities. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, released a joint statement condemning increased violence, hate speech, and anti-conversion laws.

“These laws can be used against minority groups that are not Hindus, including Christians, Muslims, and others,” Greg Musselman with The Voice of the Martyrs Canada says.

“Anybody that leaves Hinduism for another religion immediately is treated as [a] suspect. [Authorities assume] there must have been some coercion.”

Nearly half of India’s 28 states now have anti-conversion laws on the books. Karnataka passed a new law in September, while Uttarakhand strengthened existing legislation last week.

Anti-conversion laws are “continuing to expand right across the country, which of course, is concerning to the Christians,” Musselman says. See our full coverage here.

“The (BJP) agenda is to have every state under these anti-conversion laws.”

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is a Hindu nationalist organization sharing close ties with the political Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) currently governing India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a “lifetime member” of the RSS and current BJP leader.

Narendra Modi addressing the crowd in 2014.
(Image taken from Narendra Modi’s personal feed on Flickr)

RSS leader Dattatreya Hosabale advocated for anti-conversion laws while speaking to the media in October:

“Hosabale called for stringent anti-conversion laws while asserting that those who convert from Hinduism to other religions should not get the benefits of reservation… [he] also stressed the need to strictly implement existing anti-conversion laws. ‘Still, conversions are taking place. Laws (anti-conversion) exist in various places, and these laws should be enforced. Earlier, such laws were introduced in Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu,’ he (Hosabale) said.”

Pray anti-conversion laws will not stop believers from sharing the love of Jesus. Hindu nationalists claim Christians use social services, like hospitals or schools, as a cover to convert Hindus illegally.

“The Church has been at the forefront in terms of hospitals and schools, the things that we all believe we should be doing as followers of Christ,” Musselman says.

VOM Canada helps persecuted Christians with legal support and relief aid. They also equip believers with biblical training. Learn how you can help the Persecuted Church in India here.




Header image courtesy of The Voice of the Martyrs Canada.

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