Attacks on Christians in Southern India Increase with Proposal of Anti-Conversion Law
12/06/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to The Indian Express, attacks on Christians and their places of worship have sharply increased in India’s Karnataka state after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government proposed the enactment of an anti-conversion law.
In a report released by the United Christian Forum (UCF), the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), and United Against Hate, Karnataka ranks third among states with the highest number of attacks on Christians and their places of worship. According to that report, Uttar Pradesh reported the most attacks, with 66, followed by Chhattisgarh, with 47, and then Karnataka, with 32.
“While a total of 32 such cases were reported across the months since January, at least five of them have taken place in quick succession in the months of October and November,” Advocate Mohammed Nayaz, State Secretary of APCR Karnataka, told The Indian Express.
“Karnataka seems to have lost its humanity despite being known for progressive politics and being the IT hub of the country,” Reverend Peter Machado, President of the Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops’ Council, told The Indian Express. Reverend Machado went on to note that the number of attacks in Karnataka is likely higher that what is reported due to fear of reprisals.
The spike in persecution can be attributed to the anti-conversion law the BJP-led government wants to enact in the state. On September 29, Karnataka Chief Minister B.C. Bommai publicly announced his plan to enact an anti-conversion law in Karnataka. This law will likely be passed by the government during the Winter Session of the Assembly that is schedule to begin on December 13.
While Karnataka has still not enacted the promised anti-conversion law, many radical Hindu nationalists on the ground are acting as if the law already exists. The increase in attacks across Karnataka has many Christians concerned about what will happen if the anti-conversion law is enacted.
In states where similar anti-conversion laws are enacted, including Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, they are widely abused. Radical nationalists falsely accuse Christians of forcefully converting individuals to Christianity to justify harassment and assault. Local police often overlook violence perpetrated against Christians due to false accusations of forced conversion.
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