India is the world's largest democracy and the second most populous country, behind China. It is a highly diverse country, with a multitude of languages, cultures and religions. The social and political structures in India are largely determined by religion, caste and language. Despite India's increasing presence in the global economy, the vast majority of the rural population remains impoverished. India is the birthplace of Hinduism and has the second largest Muslim population in the world, after Indonesia, with 14 percent of its 1.2 billion
people claiming that affiliation.
The Indian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, yet six of the 29 state governments have implemented laws forbidding “forcible conversions,”and other states are considering them. These laws, which are frequently used against Christians, make it illegal to convert someone “by force, fraud or allurement.” In Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh states, anyone wishing to convert from Hinduism or wanting to convert another must give 30 days' advance notice and seek permission from the government. Violators face jail terms and hefty fi nes. Violence against Christians continues in the form of Bible burnings, destruction of churches and other property, imprisonments, beatings and murders. Attackers are rarely charged. VOMC contact say that the biggest persecutor of Christians in India is a militant Hindu group called the RSS, which is modeled after fascism. Its goal is to create a Hindu nation.
- Pray that despite the intimidation and violence in many of India's states, Christians will unashamedly preach the gospel.
- Ask that indigenous Christians and foreign missionaries will minister in ways that do not hint at fraudulent conversions, unmasking the intentions behind the anti-conversion legislation.
- Pray for India's leaders to reign with justice and righteousness.