'Anti-Christian' Law Introduced in India, Fears of Persecution Rise

An "anti-Christian" law has recently been legalised in Himachal Pradesh, a mountainous state in the north of India. Missionaries, church leaders and devoted Christians now fear imminent persecution under the law.

Lawmakers in Himachal Pradesh had introduced the law, which bans "forced" religious conversions. Under the legislation, any person or persons found to "force" or "induce" someone to change his or her religion could be liable for punishment.

Following the implementation of the legislation, there are now concerns over the loose interpretation that could be applied to the law, and particularly that missionaries and Christians in the state, who were preaching the gospel, will now be targeted for persecution, BosNewLife has reported.

A major advocacy group in India, the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said that it was worried that the law could be used "to appease radical Hindus at the expense of the Christian community", according to the BosNewsLife.

Evangelical Christians had debated that "forced conversions" are against the teachings of the Bible, as each individual is given the freedom to accept or reject Jesus Christ.

The population of Himachal Pradesh is about six million people, with over 90 per cent of them bring Hindu, according to the 2001 India Census.