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India Releases Eight Assaulted Christians

Washington, D.C. (January 28, 2009)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that yesterday Indian officials released eight Christians from jail after they spent six days in prison for ‘forcefully converting’ Hindus to Christianity. Indian police arrested the Christians on January 22nd in Sindhu Bhawan, Chhattisgarh, after Hindu extremists attacked and made the allegations about conversion.

A mob of about 60 suspected Hindu extremists attacked the Christians, damaged their facility and falsely accused them of forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity.

The Christians were attending a meeting organized by a group of new converts. There were 200 Christians in attendance.

On January 22, at about 8:30 PM the mob forcefully entered the meeting from the back of the hall shouting Hindu slogans. They proceeded to beat the Christians and burn Bibles, gospel literature, laptops and furniture.

Police arrived at the site at about 9:30 PM and held 60 Christians for questioning. They arrested eight Christians under Section 151 of the Indian Penal code for assembling after commanded to disperse. The police cited the Freedom of Religion Act of Chhattisgarh which enables them to make quick arrests of Christians accused of forcibly converting Hindus. In India , it is common practice to imprison Christian victims of attacks instead of the perpetrators of the attacks.

Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat , Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh enforce anti-conversion laws which restrict the freedom of Christians and other non-Hindus from spreading their faith among Hindus. The laws have been routinely misused by Hindu radicals and police to falsely accuse Christians of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity.

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and South Asia , Jonathan Racho, said “We welcome the release of the eight Christians by Indian officials. We call upon Indian officials to pay attention to the plight of Christians who are victimized by the so-called anti-conversion laws that are used against Christians arbitrarily. We also ask India to bring the perpetrators of attacks on Christians in Sindhu Bhawan to justice.”

Please call the Indian embassy in your country and politely ask Indian officials to bring the attackers of the Christians to justice.

Indian Embassies:

USA : (202) 939-7000 [Phone] (202) 265-4351 [Fax]

Canada : (613) 744-3751 [Phone]

UK : 020 7836 8484 [Phone]