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Many areas of the world are passing “anti-conversion” measures, targeted at slowing down the spread of the Gospel, and giving harsher punishments to those who do try to “convert” others.

India ‘s Rajasthan State to Present Anti-Conversion Bill This Week

Christian Post

Michelle Vu

A northwestern state in India ruled by Hindu nationalist will present to the state assembly this week an anti-conversion bill that religious leaders fear would be used as a means to harass minority groups, if passed.

On Monday, Sept. 26, India ’s Rajasthan state is scheduled to present the anti-conversion bill to the state assembly. If passed, the legislation will require anyone involved in the conversion process to inform district authorities before the conversion takes place. Failure to follow the law would result in imprisonment or heavy fines.
Moreover, the proposed anti-conversion bill calls for punishment to any individual attempting to convert someone through “fear tactic,” including preaching on hell and judgment, and “enticement” or “fraudulent means,” such as a gift from a Christian, or even the promise of heaven, according to the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA RLC). The “enticement” or “fraudulent means” section of the bill will especially affect Christian relief agencies and humanitarian ministries, which can be accused of “enticing” people to convert to Christianity, the Commission stated in a prayer bulletin released on Wednesday.
The state of Rajasthan is one among several states in India ruled by the Hindu nationalist BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). According to the WEA RLC, authorities in BJP-ruled states can persecute Christians and churches without punishment, resulting in a worse situation for Christians than in other areas of the country.
The Social Welfare Minister of the BJP-ruled state of Rajasthan, Madan Dilawar, is a Hindu nationalist who supports the anti-conversion law and who claims it is the “duty” of the government to supervise church activities, the RLC noted in its weekly bulletin. However, the anti-conversion law will only apply to Christians. Although the RLC noted that Hindu nationalists have engaged in “aggressive, forceful conversion campaigns,” Hindus are free to convert people to Hinduism.
“Most new Christians in India come from the downtrodden lower castes and indigenous tribal populations,” the WEA Commission stated. “Hindu nationalists count all these people as naturally Hindu (when in reality they are mostly Animist) and believe all Christian converts should ‘return’ to Hinduism. They call these often violent forced conversions ‘home-comings’ and regard them as a corrective measure.”
Although India ’s federal congress is a strong supporter of religious freedom, Hindu nationalist states within India , which have a high degree of autonomy, defy the religious liberty article guaranteed by India ’s constitution. States such as Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and Arunachal Pradesh enforce unconstitutional anti-conversion laws. The state of Gujarat has also approved an anti-conversion law but has not yet enforced it.
India currently has 25 million Christians and the churches are being planted rapidly in India . But in a nation of one billion people, Christians only represent 2.4% of the population. In addition, it is noted in Operation World – the “definitive prayer guide to the nations, peoples and cities of the world” – that “ India has more (and larger) people groups with no Christians, churches or workers than any other part of the world.”