Religious freedom for Christians and other religious minorities is slowly eroding in India under the current BJP government. Recently, Jharkhand, a state located in India’s northeast, became the ninth state to pass an anti-conversion law that will regulate an individual’s ability to convert from one religion to another. Unfortunately, similar laws have been implemented to help conversions to Hinduism and stop conversions to Christianity and Islam. Will laws such as this continue to spread in India?
10/12/2017 India (Mission Network News) – In India, religious minorities are seeing their freedoms slowly erode. The northeastern state of Jharkhand recently became the ninth state to pass anti-conversion laws, which are often used to suppress any religion other than Hinduism.
“I think in the little over three years that we’ve had this government in place, we’ve certainly seen those states that have the anti-conversion laws get stronger in trying to implement those laws,” says John Pudaite with Bibles for the World, an organization that works with indigenous nationals in India to distribute Bibles and provide education. “They’re getting more galvanized. They feel they have the support of the central government behind them.”
India is led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, a right-wing Hindu nationalist group. Reports from after the March 2017 election say physical violence against Christians have risen 40 percent since 2016, while murders of Christians have doubled.
“In some states, we’ve heard that now they are requiring, if someone wants to change their religion, they first have to go down to the equivalent of a district magistrate, a judge, and file paperwork stating their intent to convert from one religion to another,” Pudaite says.
“We’ve also seen a movement by some of the Hindu nationalist groups, that they’re trying to pay people to come back to Hinduism. They’re paying for Christians to come back, for Muslims to come back to Hinduism.”