Uttar Pradesh, pastors arrested on conversion charges
Two more cases instigated by Hindu fundamentalists over simple prayer gatherings in Varanasi and Lakhimpur. Fr Pereira: "The ruling BJP party wants people's minds to be occupied by these things, so as not to see the rise in prices, corruption, lack of work".
Varanasi (AsiaNews) - There have been new arbitrary arrests of Christian pastors in Uttar Pradesh, on charges of "conversions" made by Hindu fundamentalists. In Varanasi, Pastor Santosh Kanojia was detained after police registered a complaint against his father Sabhajit Kanojia and a believer identified as Chhota.
In another case, in the Lakhimpur district of Uttar Pradesh, Pastor Mithlesh Kumar was visiting a family, when some villagers reported him and the police took him to the Phool Behad police station. Here he was also remanded in custody.
Fr. Vineet Vincent Pereira, a Catholic priest in Varanasi who is campaigning for his release, told AsiaNews: 'Many pastors are being persecuted in Uttar Pradesh, some have been stopped and arrested, there is a lot of disorder here. Christians are being blamed simply for leading prayers. For political reasons, to incite fanatics, fundamentalist groups behave like this. The ruling party BJP wants people's minds to be occupied by these things, so they do not raise the real problems such as rising prices, corruption and unemployment".