Anti-conversion rules tighten in northern India, paving the way for Hindutva

Thursday, September 5, 2019

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - One of India’s nine states to have passed an anti-conversion law in recent years tightened restrictions last month on the choice Indians have to turn from one religion to another.

Lawmakers in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh added a sentence of seven years to a 2006 law that proscribed inducing conversions by fraudulent means, but a speech by Jai Ram Thakur, chief minister of the state and a Bharatiya Janata Party member, revealed that the August 30 measure was intended to stamp out religious conversions in general.

“We are not able to stop religious conversions after that [2006] Act. No case was registered so far despite several cases of religious conversions coming to light. The previous act needed 10 amendments, so we decided to bring the new bill,” said Thakur, according to International Christian Concern.

Christian leaders expressed concern that law-abiding Christians would by harmed not by the law itself, but by its misuse, as “anti-conversion” and “freedom of religion” are often the headings under which total bans on conversion to Christianity are enacted in south Asia.

In 2015 two Indian parliamentarians of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party proposed a national anti-conversion law due, they said, to India’s Hindu majority shrinking below 80%, as reforms inspired by the vaunted and homogeneously Hindu past of India’s sacred texts become the norm under Narendra Modi.