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For Immediate Release
Persecution of Indian Christians Continues:
Indian Pastor Arrested for Offending Hindu Sensitivities

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address Contact Jeff King President, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, [email protected]

(November 27, 2006) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just become informed that
Police in India’s Orissa State (Rourkela district) have arrested a young pastor on charges of offending Hindu sensitivities (details below).

At last report, Pastor Ashish Kumar Muna, 25, was in a jail in Rourkela district since November 15, after a Hindu fundamentalist belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) lodged a complaint accusing him of “conversions” in Udit Nagar police station in Jhirpani Taluka.

Dr. Sajan George of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) told ICC that Pastor Muna got into trouble when he prayed for a woman suffering from tuberculosis and kidney problems, not knowing that she was the wife of a local leader of the VHP. The lady was the wife of Jibardhana Chouhan, the Rourkela district coordinator of the VHP.

“As Pastor Muna started praying for the lady in her house, her daughters shouted that he was trying to force her to accept Christianity. Immediately, the daughters called the neighbors and made accusations of forced conversion against the pastor,” George said.

The family members promptly called the police and handed over Pastor Muna to them. The police arrested the pastor on charges of house-trespass, use of criminal force on a woman and hurting religious sentiments, under Sections 448, 354 and 295A of the Indian Penal Code. Muna was consequently produced before a court, which refused his bail application and remanded him in judicial custody.

ICC requests all concerned individuals to contact the Indian Embassy to respectfully urge the government to release Pastor Muna and to protect religious minorities and enforce religious liberties as entitled under Indian law.

Indian Embassy
2107 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington , DC 20008
– 20008
Telephone: (202) 939-7000: (202) 939-7000