The law criminalises religious conversion, except in the case of "Ghar Wapsi", the reconversion to Hinduism. According to a report by International Christian Concern, 30 Christians were arrested in July, up from previous months.
Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Police recently arrested nine Christians in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly violating the state’s controversial anti-conversion law, which criminalises religious conversion and denies bail to those accused.
The case is cited in a study by International Christian Concern (ICC), a Christian advocacy group, which reports a recent rise in anti-Christian complaints.
The document quotes one of the Christians, Sadhu Srinivas Gautham, who said that about 25 Hindu radicals stormed a prayer meeting last Sunday in Gangapur town, accusing those present of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity.
“They raged against me,” Gautham said. “It was as if they wanted to kill me on the spot. However, police arrived and escorted us to the police station” where he and six other Christians were charged with violating the anti-conversion law. “They told us we should renounce our Christian faith and go back to Hinduism."
According to the anti-conversion law, approved last February, “Ghar Wapsi” (homecoming), the reconversion to Hinduism, is not forced conversion, even if it is often accompanied by threats and intimidation.
According to the ICC, 30 Christians were arrested so far this month; that is up from previous months.
On 21 July, a pastor who runs an orphanage was jailed along with his wife and brother. Police officers took custody of the children housed at the facility.
“It is unfortunate that religion has become a tool of politics,” said a Christian leader in Uttar Pradesh, cited by the ICC.
“Politicians need an issue for their upcoming election and the media needs a sensational story. Both benefit but innocent people pay the price, whether they are Muslims or Christians”.