11/29/2019, 09.38
INDIA
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Uttar Pradesh, three evangelical Christians arrested for "forced conversions"

by Nirmala Carvalho

The faithful are also accused of offending the religion of others. The day before the arrest, which took place on 27 November, some Hindu radicals visited the village and asked where the prayer meetings took place.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Police in Uttar Pradesh arrested three evangelical Christians on charges of forced conversions against Dalits and contempt for other religions. The arrest took place on November 27 in the village of Daraura, in the district of Mau.

Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), condemns the arrest of the faithful and denounces that "Uttar Pradesh has become the hotbed of hostilities against Christians".

According to district police superintendent Anurag Arya, the complaint was filed by Prakash Pasi, the village's head, who belongs to the Dalit community. However, the man denies having ever filed a lawsuit over forced conversions to Christianity.

Authorities refused bail for the three Christians. They are Kapildev Ram, Omprakash and Ajay Kumar. According to the complaint presented, prayers and gatherings were held in Ram’s house every Tuesday. One of these meetings would also have been attended by the plaintiff, who then reported the attempt to "mentally exploit the villagers".

The charge is that the evangelicals would have said that "if you do not believe in Jesus Christ, you will suffer. Those who follow him will be freed from all problems and illnesses ”. For this reason, among the other charges, the crime of promoting discord between the different groups appears in the lawsuit (Article 153A of the Indian Penal Code).

Sajan K. George complains that in the Indian state "local police arrest minority members on the basis of manufactured conversion complaints. In particular, Dalits are under constant supervision by right-wing groups that intentionally interpret any activity as "attractive and fraudulent" conversion attempts. At the same time, elements [that support the ideology] of the Hindutva enter the sacred spaces of the houses, where Christians are gathered in prayer, abuse the people present verbally and physically, interrupt the prayer services and build false accusations and manufactured."

The Christian leader points out that India is a "secular country that guarantees the constitutional right to religious freedom. Members of the Christian minority are not safe even in their own homes. Their lives and properties are in danger."

Finally he denounces the connivance between Hindu radicals and police forces. "The day before the arrest of the three Christians - he reports - some elements of the extreme right wing visited the village and asked the chief where the place where Christians gather in prayer was located. They then informed the police, who later arrested the people ".

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