[TBC: Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) means: ”Universal Hindu Council”]
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Secretary-General Milind Parande congratulated the Madhya Pradesh government during a press conference on February 27 for passing the Freedom to Religion Bill, 2021, also known as an anti-conversion law.
The Indian Express reported, Parande talked with other governments at the press conference to encourage them to pass similar laws. “Religious conversion is a type of violence that needs to be stopped,” Parande said. This law allows the arrest and conviction of missionaries to “eradicate social evils.”
The VHP, a right-wing Hindu nationalist organization, began to identify and track 56 missionaries in Madhya Pradesh who illegally converted Hindus to another religion. According to the law, a legal conversion is when a person makes a conscious decision on their own accord to convert. According to the VHP, if a person is emotional and a missionary gives religious comfort and prompts that person to convert, it is illegal and evil.
Hindu nationalist groups such as the VHP use the term “love Jihad,” a conspiracy theory against Muslims, to accuse Muslim men of converting Hindu women by marriage. The Freedom to Religion Bill, 2021, has already increased the number of blasphemy charges and violent attacks on innocent minorities. It will continue to empower right-wing groups to attack Christians and Muslims they see as evil influencers.