“Converting to Christianity? Don’t forget to ask your local government officials for permission first—at least one month in advance. That is, if you live in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh state, which has passed legislation sending converts to Christianity—and their pastors—to prison for failing to obtain such permission before conversions,” reports Christianity Today.
India’s constitution gives each citizen the right to freedom of religion.
But in practice, choosing to follow Christ can have severe consequences in India.
Five states have laws that make it difficult to become a Christian believer. Usually these laws are (ironically) called “Freedom of Religion Acts” because they forbid forcible or fraudulent conversions, but Hindu extremists have used them to arrest and harass Christians with false accusations.
Many people are afraid of converting because it draws unwanted attention, and the Hindu extremists use the law to accuse Christians of alluring and forcing people to become Christian.
They also mislead ignorant citizens into believing that conversion itself is illegal.
And many people in India (especially uneducated illiterates in rural areas) don’t know that they have a constitutional right to freedom of religion. India is even on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s watch list.