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Street in India

On August 12th, a bill was passed by the Jharkhand Assembly which will directly affect the religious freedoms of Christians. Despite receiving significant opposition from religious groups, the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Bill-2017 has now been sent to the governor, whose approval precedes the president's review for final assent.

Anti-conversion laws such as these, ironically titled "Freedom of Religion" laws, often directly attack the religious freedoms of Christians. Section Three of this particular law forbids the attempt to convert anyone "either directly or otherwise...by use of force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means...."

Punishment under this bill would include imprisonment of up to three years, a fine of 50,000 rupees (approximately $965 CAD) -- or both. In cases where a minor, woman, or person from the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe communities is involved, the prison sentence would increase to four years and a fine of up to 100,000 rupees (about $1,930 CAD).

Although similar laws exist in six other Indian states, those governments have not defined the terms "inducement," "coercion," "force" or "fraud" in the context of religious conversions. Due to this legal ambiguity, these laws have been widely abused by radical Hindu nationalist groups to harass and intimidate Christians while claiming to be under the auspices of state law. A previous report on the anti-conversion laws can be found here.

With the passing of this new law, pray that the church across India would not succumb to fear but rather rely even more so on the One whose message cannot be silenced. Intercede on behalf of the country's pastors and evangelists, asking that they be endowed with an increased measure of God's wisdom and anointing so they can continue sharing His Word with all who are willing to listen. In spite of the opposition, may the church continue to grow in strength, faithfulness and number.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC VOMC assists persecuted Christians with legal support and rehabilitation assistance, and cares for children of martyrs by providing them with a safe place to be nurtured physical and spiritually. VOMC also partners to equip Christians in India with Biblical training and works to strengthen and support marginalized and persecuted Christian women. Additionally, VOMC helps to provide medical assistance to believers who have faced injuries after being attacked.”

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Legal Defense, Relief and Development, Women’s Ministry, Medical Fund

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
1,339,330,514 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Indo-Aryan (72), Dravidian (25), Mongoloid and other (3)

Religion (%)
Hinduism (79.8), Muslim (14.2), Christianity (2.3), Sikh (1.7), other (2)

Leader
President Ram Nath Kovind (2017)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Based on English common law; separate personal law codes apply to Christians, Hindus and Muslims.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for India

Despite the intimidation and violence that have taken place in many of India's states, may Christians wisely yet unashamedly preach the Gospel. Pray that indigenous Christians and foreign missionaries will minister in ways that do not hint at fraudulent conversions, unmasking the intentions behind the anti-conversion legislation. Intercede for India's leaders, that they may reign with justice and righteousness.

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India News

  • Anti-Conversion Laws Expand to Haryana State
    A group of people riding motorbikes, all wearing orange scarves, some carrying orange flags
    Hindu nationalists in Haryana.
    Photo: Morning Star News

    Despite strong opposition, and even walkouts organized by opposing politicians, the Haryana Assembly in northern India passed the "Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill" on March 22nd. The bill's stated purpose is to instil

    ...
  • Pastor Killed by Masked Men
    Man with his head in his hands
    Pray that believers will sense the comforting presence of God’s Holy Spirit who grieves with them in their loss.

    Pastor Yallam Shankar was at home in Angampalli, Chhattisgarh, on March 17th when five masked men suddenly burst in. After dragging the pastor from his home, the attackers stabbed him to

    ...
  • Pastor Beaten Over Conversion Allegations
    Large building (Delhi Police Station)
    Delhi Police Station
    Photo: Wikipedia / Ji-Elle (cc)

    On the morning of February 25th, Pastor Kelom Kalyan Tet was returning from visiting a friend when he was accosted on a street in South Delhi by a mob. Accusing the pastor of illegal conversion activities, they began to beat him. The assailants

    ...