Anti-conversion laws against Indian Christians
Barnabas Fund, 4 October 2021 (excerpts)
Extremists in India continue to use anti-conversion laws as a means of harassing church leaders and other Christians.
On 28 September a pastor in Himachal Pradesh was arrested on charges of attempting to gain converts to Christianity through force and bribery..
The following day, in Madhya Pradesh, radical Hindutva nationalists disrupted a Christian wedding, alleging that the bride had unlawfully converted from Hinduism.
Pastor Charlie John and two Christian brothers were arrested after extremists ordered them to stop distributing Bibles and leaflets in Rampur, Himachal Pradesh.
The pastor explained, “I only offered the Bible, and I gave it to those who freely accepted the Good News.”
“Someone refused the Gospel I was giving them and I didn’t insist. “We share the Good News with people, tell them about Jesus, but without forcing anyone to convert. The accusations made against me are totally false.”
In Madhya Pradesh the police filed no charges against the couple or the wedding party, but continue to investigate.
“The newly wedded couple are Christians and their marriage reception was disturbed based on a false allegation of religious conversion,” said a local pastor.
An Indian legal expert has argued that “a ban on conversion motivated by any sort of gain is in effect a ban on all conversion” which therefore nullifies India’s constitutional commitment to freedom of religion.