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Christian women in India - Photo: World Watch Monitor www.worldwatchmonitor.org
Pray that believers in India will not succumb to the mounting pressure against them.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

For many years, the Hindu Nationalist organization RSS has been an influential factor in Indian politics, particularly within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). One of the goals of the RSS is to change India from a secular democracy to a nation governed by Hindu polity. One way this is being achieved is through the passing of anti-conversion laws to prevent people from converting from Hinduism.

At least nine states have now passed anti-conversion legislation, including, as of November 2020, the Uttar Pradesh state. Under this new legislation, police have arrested four people -- one of them, a Korean national. The four had been distributing aid to people affected by the COVID-19 lockdown and, according to the aid organizer, two of those arrested were not even Christians. No mention was made to the aid recipients of their need to change religion and no money was given or promised to coerce them. At last report, attempts were being made to secure bail for the detained humanitarian workers.

On January 9th, one of the states that already had anti-conversion legislation in place passed newer and tighter restrictions. According to the newly implemented rules of Madhya Pradesh state, anyone wanting to change their faith must obtain official permission 60 days in advance or they could face up to ten years in prison and a fine of $870 CAD.

The intention of these laws is to prevent conversion by bribery or coercion but, in practice, they are being used by militants to intimidate and harm religious minorities. For Hindus, however, the laws do not seem to apply. There are also numerous reports of coercion being used to convert people to Hinduism in a process called "Ghar wapsi," which translated means, "a homecoming."

According to a year-end report from Release International, it is expected that Christian persecution in India will increase during 2021 due to the growing influence of Hindu nationalism. To learn more about the persecution of Christians in India, and how you can specifically pray for them, please go to our country report.

Please lift up in prayer the numerous churches and Christian organizations throughout India that are encountering increasing pressures by governing officials and fellow community members. May the Lord give these believers and their leaders wisdom and direction as they seek to share the Gospel, and the courage to follow His leading in the midst of opposition. Pray that those who were recently arrested will be released and that all charges against them will be dropped.

Current Ministry Projects

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.”

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

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
1,326,093,247 (July 2020 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

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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