Karnataka: six Jehovah's Witnesses arrested on charges of forced conversions
Two far-right Hindu groups filed a complaint against the Witnesses. Leaflets encouraging conversions to their beliefs were found in a car. For Christian leader, "India is a secular nation” and “the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion."
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Six Jehovah's Witnesses were arrested yesterday in Karnataka on charges of forced conversions.
Speaking to AsiaNews, Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), condemned the arrests. He said that the Jehovah’s Witnesses "were stopped as they handed out religious tracts house to house,” noting that “the distribution of Christian religious material is neither illegal nor criminal."
The incident occurred in Manikallu, Udupi district, scene in recent years of several attacks by Hindu radicals against Christians.
Members of two nationalist groups, the Bhramari Yuvaka Mandal and Hindu Jagran Vedike, alerted police in Kota of the presence of Jehovah’s Witnesses, saying they were converting people by force.
The police rushed to the village and took six Witnesses into custody, on charges of religious propaganda. Leaflets inciting people to convert were found inside a car.
Sajan K George rejects the charges against the Christians, and slams the police, "which leans towards the local extreme right-wing groups and charges Christians and others on false charges."
"India is a secular nation,” he reiterated, “and Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees the free profession, practice and propagation of religion." (NC)