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India Briefs: Recent Incidents of Persecution  

ICC Note

Christians in India continue facing persecution by radical Hindus and the police have failed to protect them and even sided with the Hindu radicals.

06/17/2011 India (CDN)-Three U.S. citizens along with two unidentified men from Kottayam district were detained on June 13 by Alappuzha police after a Hindu extremist group filed a complaint against them of forcible conversion in Thrikkunnappuzha. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported that the extremists accused the Christians of distributing pamphlets and conducting health lessons to promote Christianity. On interrogation, the U.S. citizens – Diana Jean, Shirley Lewis and Catherine Heather of Pennsylvania – said they were tourists and were not involved in any forcible conversion activities. Alappuzha police reportedly said they had no evidence the Christians were trying to forcibly convert anyone, but that their tourist visas did not allow them to attend prayer meetings. A district police official told Compass that the Christians were released without charges but were told to leave the area, and the U.S. tourists agreed.

Uttarakhand – An irate mob in Bellparao, Nainital, on June 12 barged into the marriage re-ception of a convert Christian couple from Sikhism, Suresh Chand and Aarti Shan, accused them of not following Sikh rituals and damaged property worth 60,000 rupees (US$1,315). At about 5 p.m, the Sikh mob led by Dr. Baldev Singh, a relative of Chand, arrived and began calling the Christians infidels, damaging furniture, decorations, sound equipment and food, reported Evangelical Fellowship of India representative Amitabha Sarkar. Police arrived and arrested Chand’s father, Dharam Chand, his elder brother Amarjit Chand and local pastor Rajendra Singh, detaining them overnight supposedly as a safety measure. Officers released the Christians without charges the next morning. The next day, Sikhs took Dharam Chand and his family to the Sikh temple and forced them to perform Sikh rituals to reconvert back to Sikhism.

Madhya Pradesh – Police in Raghatgarh Sagar on June 8 detained Pastor Daniel Masih after Hindu extremists filed a complaint against him of forceful conversion. Officers took him to a police station, questioned him on his activities and held him for about 11 hours, reported area Pastor Uday Roa. Pastor Masih leads an independent house church, and about four families attend his meetings regularly. The next day, police summoned the pastor to the station again and forced him to put in writing that he would leave the area. The pastor refused, and police told him that if anything happened to him, they would not be responsible. The pastor was said to be living in constant fear.