09/25/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to Frontline Magazine, state government leaders in India’s Karnataka state have declared their intention to introduce an anti-conversion law. These government leaders, many of them members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), claim the law will prevent widespread forcible conversions to Christianity.
“There is no scope for forced religious conversion in the state,” Araga Jnanendra, Karnataka Home Minister, said on September 21. “Converting someone by offering inducements is against the law as well and I have given strict instructions to the police to take action where necessary.”
“When it comes to inducement-based conversions, there is an established network,” Jnanendra continued. “We are discussing how to prevent this and an appropriate law will be introduced soon.”
Goolihatti Shekar, a state legislator and member of the BJP, claimed that “approximately 20,000 people converted to Christianity in Chitradurga.” He added: “Even my mother has become a Christian. She has been brainwashed not to wear Kumkum or to keep photos of Hindu gods. The entire family is embarrassed because of these developments.”
Hindu nationalists frequently use the specter of fraudulent mass conversions to Christianity and Islam to justify the enactment of anti-conversion laws. According to these nationalists, Christians and Muslims are accused of converting poor Hindus to Christianity and Islam in mass by fraudulent means.
In the case of forced conversions to Christianity, nationalists accuse Christians of using aid, money, and other items of value to induce non-Christians into converting to Christianity. In recent years, this narrative has cast suspicion on all charitable work led by Christians in India and has even led to the expulsion of international non-profits.
Once anti-conversion laws are enacted, false accusations of forced conversion are used by radical Hindu nationalists to justify physical assaults on Christians. In most cases, local police arrest the Christian victim, who has been clearly assaulted, simply because radicals claim the Christian was involved in religious conversions.
Currently, anti-conversion laws have been enacted in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand.