06/17/2019, 14.48
INDIA
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Two Christian men accused of ‘forced conversions’ in Haryana are released

by Nirmala Carvalho

The two are still under investigation for violating certain provisions of the Indian Penal Code. A Hindu man has accused them of trying to convert him and of insulting his gods. For Sajan K George, it is "wrong to denounce and make derogatory comments about the other gods” whilst announcing “the Good News to others”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Two Christian men in Haryana (northern India) were released on bail after they were falsely charged with forced conversions, Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews.

According to Baljeet Singh, a police officer in Safar, the two Christians are Ajmer and Lakhi Chand. A man called Prithi Singh, a Hindu, has accused them of violating several provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The two were arrested on 9 May in the village of Kachwa and were released the following day. According to their accuser, they tried to convert him by force to Christianity. Prithi, who lives in the same village, blames the two for hurting his religious feelings.

The police officer also stated that the two "Christians denounced Hindu gods and made derogatory statements against them". After their arrest, they were brought before a judge to be charged.

The two Christians were “charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code,” said Sajan K George, namely section 295(A) on “hurting religious sentiments; 298 (uttering any word or making any sound in the hearing or making any gesture, or placing any object in the sight of any person, with intention to wound his religious feelings; 323/506 IPC sections.”

For the Christian leader, "the baseless conversion allegations led to the conversion charges”. At present, “communal tensions are high in rural areas, and even a domestic issue is given a conversion twist” because members of the Hindu “majority are willing to believe” what is said against members of the “minuscule Christian minority”.

The “GCIC is of the firm opinion, that while we propose the Christian faith and the Good News to others, it is wrong to denounce and make derogatory comments about the other gods. However,” when allegations are made, “the veracity of the statements has to be checked”. For their part, “Christians live in a climate of fear and intimidation.”

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