Religious minorities, particularly Christians, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh fear that the already high incidence of attacks on them could further rise after the state’s government has brought in force a new and more stringent version of the “anti-conversion” law. The new legislation, the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, was brought in despite there being no conviction under the previous version of the law, which had been in place for more than five decades.
The filing of complaints by Hindu nationalist groups under the previous “anti-conversion” law as well as physical attacks following accusations of wrongful conversions, however, were routine. At least 25 incidents of attacks on Christians were recorded in the state last year, according to the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India. This has led the state’s Christian community to suspect that persecution could now further rise.
In January, a 25-year-old pregnant Christian woman lost her eight-month-old unborn baby after an attack. In this video, I spoke to her and some other victims of alleged attacks in Madhya Pradesh.