"Anti-conversion" laws are being used as a battering ram in India to persecute Christians.
International Christian Concern has learned that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) majority government of the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India passed a strict anti-conversion law last week.
"Essentially what the law says is that it criminalizes acts that directly or indirectly cause someone to convert from one religion to another by fraudulent means, which would be inducement, coercion, or fraud," explains ICC spokesman William Stark.
According to ICC, the new law clearly contradicts India's constitution – and will likely be used to target India's Christian citizens and threaten them with imprisonment for sharing their faith.
In fact, Stark shares with OneNewsNow that he receives two to three calls per week from Christians in India detailing incidents in which radical Hindus disrupt a worship service and assault the pastor and church members – but when police arrive, the Hindus claim the Christians are converting people.
Some of the anti-conversion laws have been on India's books since 1967 and not one person has been convicted under the statutes.
"So really what's going to happen legally speaking to this point is still unknown," Stark acknowledges. "Really what these laws are created for is [to be] a dog whistle to Hindu radicals operating around the country to say Hey, if you want to attack Christians or Christian worship services, just make sure you accuse them of being engaged in a conversion so you can justify the assault."
Radical Hindus often complain of massive conversions to Christianity – although two reports in a row show the Christian population at 2.3 percent, the same each time, which doesn't indicate massive conversions.