Karnataka addresses anti-conversion law

By July 17, 2023

India (MNN) — The wheels of government move slowly, but all signs point to a positive change in Karnataka state.

“The new government, which has just been voted into power, said, ‘We are going to withdraw the anti-conversion law,’ which would be a very significant change,” The Voice of the Martyrs USA’s Todd Nettleton says.

State government officials “approved the scrapping of the anti-conversion law passed by the BJP, and a bill is expected to be presented … in the Assembly in the ongoing session,” according to a Thursday update from TheNewsMinute.com, a southern India news outlet.

A dozen other states in India have anti-conversion laws on the books. More about that here. “These anti-conversion laws are used against Christians reaching out and sharing the Gospel,” Nettleton says.

“[These laws are] being used every single week to persecute Christians.”

India’s overarching legal trend supported persecution in recent years, making the decision in Karnataka unusual.

“We can hope India’s voters are concerned about the Hindu nationalist direction their government has moved in the last number of years,” Nettleton says.

“Maybe this is a pushback against that – ‘We don’t want the government to be so focused on one religion, we want the government to support people of all different religions’ – I hope that’s what we’re seeing,” he continues.

Karnataka state highlighted in red.
(Wikimedia Commons)

“At this point, I think it’s too early to tell. This is one state; this is not the whole country. But anytime we hear there will be more religious freedom in even one part of India, that’s something to celebrate.”

The Congress party is set to replace the anti-conversion law with a new bill in the coming months. Pray that these new rules will support religious freedom.

“Pray for Christians in Karnataka to take advantage of this opportunity; [to say,] ‘Hey, let’s share our faith. Let’s be bold as witnesses for Jesus Christ.’”

Pray that anti-conversion laws in other states will be reversed as well.

“We’ll see if this is the first chapter of change, or if this is kind of a blip and there is a return to [the] Hindu nationalist philosophy that has taken root in India over the last ten years,” Nettleton says.




Header and story images courtesy of The Voice of the Martyrs USA.