Karnataka: a young man is arrested on false charges of abduction and forced conversion
by Nirmala Carvalho
Praveen D’Souza is accused of helping a Hindu teenager escape from home. Radical Hindus make the charge with the complicity of police. This is a “classic example” of a “baseless and false complaint,” said Sajan K George.
Bangalore (AsiaNews) – The latest “allegations of abetting religious conversion” is “a classic example of an innocent Christian in South Kanara being arrested and charged on a baseless and false complaint,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). His harsh words came after Praveen Lancy D’Souza, 29, a Christian from Alagandi (Puttur taluk, Karnataka), was accused of forcing a 14-year-old boy, Kartik, to convert to Christianity, a case that received wide media coverage.

According to the report by the police in Uppinangady, everything began a year ago when Kartik, a student at Kanchana High School, ran away from home for three months. The boy said he met Praveen for the first time during that time.

Things changed when the Christian man contacted the Hindu teenager a few days ago and allegedly put “pressures” on him to convert to Christianity.

Sajan George went to see Praveen to shed light on what he calls “a classic example” of a “baseless and false complaint” to entrap a Christian.

From his inquiry, it turns out that Kartik escaped from home to avoid mistreatment by his stepmother.

Praveen, the elder of six children, met the boy and gave him food and shelter. After three months, during which Kartik saw Praveen pray, he went home.

When Sangh Parivar militants found out what had happened, they invented the story of forced conversion.

“The extremists went with the police to Praveen’s home and, not finding him at home, arrested his brother Melwin, threatening his parents of terrible consequences if their son did not give himself up,” Sajan George told AsiaNews.

Praveen surrendered to police last Saturday and was charged under Articles 295A (hurting religious Sentiments) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Global Council of Indian Christians has provided him with legal counsel.

The first hearing was scheduled for today, but was postponed until further notice. In the meantime, Praveen remains in prison.
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