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As the debate on proposed anti-conversion laws continues in the Indian state of Karnataka, pressure and violence have been increasing against churches. On December 20th, the proposed bill was approved by cabinet members and will be tabled in the assembly very soon. If ultimately passed, those convicted of performing "mass conversions" would face a minimum sentence of three years. Furthermore, under the proposed requirements, those wishing to convert must give one month's notice and risk the loss of governmental benefits.

Emboldened by the legislation, militant Hindu nationalists have been issuing threats against Christians and disrupting their church services. As a result, many churches in the Belagavi District have cancelled plans for Christmas services. For Pastor Yellappa, the head of an independent church in Gokak, the choice was forced upon him. Threats made against his landlord forced the eviction of the pastor from his home, where the church regularly met for worship. "In the last nine years, I was attacked a number of times and arrested three times," he reflects, "but I never thought a situation would come where I would have to shut down the church."

Police have responded to the growing tension by restricting church meetings, allegedly because of safety concerns. According to Archbishop Joseph D'souza, Christian groups in the Belagavi District are not being allowed to meet, shutting down any possibility of Christmas celebrations. To read previous reports on the persecution of Christians in India, or to view featured podcasts/documentaries, go to our country report.

As Christians in Karnataka endeavour to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ – who is described in the Scriptures as the "Prince of Peace" – may they experience His wonderful peace not only within their hearts but also in their communities. Pray that the Lord's loving conviction will come upon those who are opposed to the Gospel, so they may receive His gift of salvation – and the resulting peace – in their lives as well. Ask Him to guide the decisions of the state's legislators, providing them greatly needed wisdom and discretion, to ensure the passing of laws that will ultimately lead to the fair treatment of all India's people.

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

  • Pastoral Couple Arrested Due to ''Forcible Conversion'' Allegations
    Hands clasped in prayer, resting on an open Bible
    God's Word will not return void.

    Karnataka became the latest Indian state to officially pass anti-conversion legislation after the state's governor signed the law into effect on May 17th. On that same day, members of the Hindu nationalist group Bajrang Dal filed a complaint against Pastor V. Kuriyac

    ...
  • Inaction Against Accused Police Officer
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    Burned remnants of the church.
    Photo: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

    On February 5th, the thatched-roof building where Christians in Kistaram, Chhattisgarh, used to gather for worship had been burned to the ground. Investigations suggest that an opposing local police officer named Bhavesh Shinde was

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  • Pastor Tortured in Police Custody
    A group of believers listening to a speaker
    Pray for wisdom as pastors faithfully share God’s Word.
    Photo: VOMC

    On April 16th, a Christian pastor was arrested in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh under false charges of conversion activities. The pastor and his family were visiting relatives in the village of Anamouh Anam and, as part

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