02/08/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to Times Now, another state in India may enact an anti-conversion law if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wins the upcoming election in Kerala. This news comes after two other BJP-led state have enacted similar anti-conversion laws that have led to spikes in Christian persecution.
The President of the BJP in Kerala, K. Surendran, recently stated that the issue of Love Jihad, a conspiracy used by Hindu nationalists to demonize Indian Muslims, is a major issue in the state. Surendran went on to claim that a BJP-led government in Kerala would enact an anti-conversion law to combat the issue of Love Jihad if elected.
In recent months, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh enacted anti-conversion ordinances for similar reasons. Both state governments, led by the BJP, claim the ordinances were necessary to combat the issue of Love Jihad and other fraudulent religious conversions.
Radical Hindu nationalists use the specter of mass religious conversions to Christianity and Islam as justification to pass laws limiting religious freedom. According to these nationalists, Indian Christians and Muslims are accused of converting poor Hindus to Christianity and Islam in mass by fraudulent means.
In regards to Christianity, India’s own population data does not support this conspiracy. In 1951, the first census after independence, Christians made up 2.3% of India’s population. According to the 2011 census, the most recent census data available, Christians still make up 2.3% of the population.
In states where similar anti-conversion laws are currently enacted, including Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, they are widely abused. Radical nationalists falsely accuse Christians of forcefully converting individuals to Christianity to justify harassment and assault. Local police often overlook violence perpetrated against Christians due to false accusations of forced conversion.
To date, no individual has been convicted of forced conversions in India. This is in spite of the fact that some of the anti-conversion laws have been on the books since 1967.