Forty members of the Shalom Kalashya Church in Phuldavidi village located in Jhabua district in India were forced to convert back to Hinduism after they were threatened by radical Hindu nationalists.
They were warned of dire consequences if they refused to reconvert back to Hinduism. This campaign was part of the reconversion efforts of right-wing groups such as the VHP and Bajrangdal, which hoped to make the Jhabua district conversion-free.
According to International Christian Concern (ICC), local sources said that the leaders of the right-wing groups VHP and Bajrangdal organized a Ghar Wapsi or re-conversion ceremony at a temple located in the village. Here, 40 Christians were forced to perform the ritual of breaking the coconut and eating food or Prasad offered to deities.
Among the dozens of Christians who were forced to reconvert to Hinduism was Anandi Ben and her family, who for four years have been living as Christians. She and the rest of the Christians in the village were threatened to be boycotted if they refused to undergo the re-conversion program.
“No one can take away the faith that is inside of our heart, we hope to join the Church again soon, God will help us,” Ben declared. “I was threatened that I will lose Government subsidies, affirmative benefits, if I continue as a Christian, I was also threatened that my agriculture land will be taken away from me, I had no choice.”
Another Christian church member shared to ICC, “Christians in this district are targeted for their faith. Christians are conscious about the climate of hate violence perpetrated by the right-wing groups, and this will continue under present rulers, several Churches are shut down in the district, while others conduct worship in secret.”