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Karnataka Legislaturive Building in Bangalore
The Legislative Building in Bangalore, Karnataka State.
Photo: Flickr / Avinash Bhat (cc)

On September 28th, the Indian state of Karnataka joined several others by officially enacting laws that restrict conversion from one religion to another. The "Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act" officially seeks to prohibit "unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means." While restricting coercive conversions is laudable, such laws have frequently been misused against religious minorities throughout India.

The bill was passed by the Legislative Council on September 15th, despite objections by opposition members, who walked out in protest. The legislation received the governor's assent on September 28th and is in effect retroactive to May 17th. Although the bill had passed the Legislative Assembly in December, it was not brought before the upper house until the Hindu nationalist BJP obtained a majority of seats in council to guarantee its passing.

Christians have raised concerns, calling the law "draconian." Anyone convicted of participating in an "illegal" conversion will now face five years in prison, extended to ten years if it involves the conversion of a minor. The law also allows anyone associated with an individual to lodge a complaint against them, opening ways to further harass Christians. Hindu nationalists have claimed that Christian groups use social services such as schools and hospitals to illicitly convert Hindus. To read previously published reports on the persecution of Christians in India, go to our country report.

Pray that Christian leaders in Karnataka, along with those of other Indian states, will be granted God's wisdom and direction as they navigate these widely abused laws. May believers receive divinely appointed opportunities to continue reaching out to those around them with the Gospel message, even in the midst of these dangers. Pray that governing officials in India will realize the value of respecting diverse opinions and, therefore, endeavour to work harmoniously with members of all religious communities.

Current Ministry Projects

In addition to providing persecuted Christians legal support and rehabilitation assistance, VOMC cares for children of martyrs by ensuring they have a safe home in which to be nurtured both physically and spiritually. VOMC also partners to equip Christians in India with Biblical training and offers specialized ministry to further strengthen and support marginalized, persecuted Christian women.

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

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 Law Passes in Karnataka State
    Karnataka Legislaturive Building in Bangalore
    The Legislative Building in Bangalore, Karnataka State.
    Photo: Flickr / Avinash Bhat (cc)

    On September 28th, the Indian state of Karnataka joined several others by officially enacting laws that restrict conversion from one religion to another. The "Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Act" o

    ...
  • Evangelist Killed by Family Members
    Man standing with arms extended, facing a brilliant light; words say, ''Welcome home.''

    On August 14th, an independent Christian evangelist, Karthridasan Madhavan, was burned to death in the Indian state of West Bengal by a mob that included some members of his own family. The victim, known as Madhavan, lived in the village of Gobindapur. He was the sole Christian in his extended famil

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  • Christian Women Released on Bail
    Women holding signs demanding freedom for Christian Dalits

    On August 18th, VOMC posted a Persecution & Prayer Alert containing a report about six Christian women in Uttar Pradesh, India, who were arrested for allegedly participating in forcible conversion activities. The allegations and resulting detainment took place after these women had gathered for a bi

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