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Karnataka became the latest Indian state to officially pass anti-conversion legislation after the state’s governor signed the law into effect on 17 May.

On that same day, members of the Hindu nationalist group Bajrang Dal filed a complaint against Pastor V Kuriyachan and his wife Selenamma, alleging that they have illegally converted more than 1,000 Hindus from the Yerava tribal community by visiting the area’s coffee plantations.

The accused couple was allegedly caught attempting to persuade Paniyaravara Mutha and his family to pray with them. In a written complaint submitted to the authorities, Paniyaravara alleges that the pastor and his wife were trying to convert them, as they had apparently done to his nephew earlier.

In a video showing a group of Hindu activists entering a home to confront the Christian couple, one person can be heard demanding: “Tell us, how many people have you converted? How much money have you collected, and where are your bank accounts?”

When police arrived on the scene, they arrested Pastor Kuriyachan and Selenamma and sentenced them to judicial custody for 14 days. The complainants have demanded that they be tried under the new anti-conversion legislation.

Such opposition against Christian activities in Karnataka is not new. One pastor, recounting the attacks he and his church encountered before the legislation was implemented, stated: Now that it is passed, this law gives [Hindu nationalists] a reason to beat us and attack us. The Christians in our state are scared. We see the trend and the worst is yet to come.”

Sources: Church in Chains, Release International, The Telegraph India, The Indian Express

Please Pray

  • Ask God to grant peace, wisdom and guidance to Pastor Kuriyachan and Selenamma who now must deal with these allegations.
  • Pray that the hearts of those who have heard the couple share the Good News will be softened.
  • Pray that the Lord will encourage, lead and strengthen other believers throughout India as they seek to share their faith in an increasingly hostile society.