Uttar Pradesh, arrests even on Good Friday on conversion charges
by Nirmala Carvalho

26 people were arrested in the Fatehpur district during a liturgy held by an evangelical community. The charge of "illegal conversions from Hinduism". The bishop of Lucknow Mgr Mathias to AsiaNews: "Hindu fundamentalists are increasingly encouraged to behave like vigilantes. One wonders where the religious freedom guaranteed by the Indian Constitution has gone".



Lucknow (AsiaNews) - Easter in India was marked by arrests in the campaign of Hindu fundamentalists against Christians over accusations of forced conversions. On Good Friday in the Fatehpur district of Uttar Pradesh, 55 people were charged under the anti-conversion law, and police detained 26 later releasing them.

The arrests took place after a spokesman of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Himanshu Dixit, informed the police that about 90 Hindus had been illegally converted to Christianity by the 'Evangelical Church of India' in the Hariharganj area. Superintendent of Police Rajesh Singh said a complaint had been lodged at the Kotwali police station against 55 persons, including 10 women.

The Bishop of Lucknow Msgr Gerald Mathias commented on this news to AsiaNews: "The arrest of Christians in Fatehpur is illegal and totally condemnable. They were participating in a liturgy and no conversion was taking place. The accusation of illegal conversion is absolutely unfounded and has been fabricated by Hindutva fundamentalists.  They were all released because the accusation was manifestly false."

The prelate continued, "The Hinduvta fundamentalists are increasingly encouraged and go around like vigilantes, taking the law into their own hands. The police are often mute spectators and even encourage them. Unfortunately, these incidents are on the rise and one wonders whether the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution is really respected by everyone."