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05/01/2012 India (CIC News) – Jammu and Kashmir – A Muslim mob on April 17 beat a Christian couple from New Delhi and a young local woman in North Kashmir’s Bandipora town for distributing Christian pamphlets in the area. The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) reported that the Rev. Mafford Maharaj Singh and his wife, Kusum Singh, of Grace Upon Grace Church, along with Sammena Bano, were distributing gospel tracts in Urdu and sharing their faith in a local market when a mob gathered, beat them and dragged them to the head of the local mosque, who handed them over to police. The police filed a complaint against the Christians for allegedly “promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, birth, residence,” which is punishable by imprisonment of up to five years, according to the EFI. The Christians reportedly told police they were not doing anything unconstitutional or illegal. The mob had alleged that the couple offered 100,000 Indian rupees (US$1,870) to persons willing to convert to Christianity and that the New Testaments they were distributing contained money as inducement to convert. Bano was released after questioning, according to the EFI. The agency reported that the couple was released on bail, despite the local bar association and other groups protesting and preventing attorneys from appearing. An attorney from the Srinagar High Court, however, filed the bail application on behalf of the couple on April 23, and the couple was released late that night, the EFI reported.

Andhra Pradesh – Hindu extremists in Dharmapuri on April 16 accused a pastor of forceful conversion and filed a complaint against him of violating Government Order 746 and 747, which bans propagation of other religions near the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams temple and 19 other Hindu temples across the country. The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) reported that a pastor identified only as Ahron and another church member were distributing pocket calendars when the Hindu extremists began verbally abusing him, took items from the pastor and took him to the local police station. On April 17 the extremists staged a strike and demanded the arrest of the pastor. Police investigation was underway at press time, the EFI reported.

Andhra Pradesh – Police on April 16 arrested a pastor identified only as Samuel for trespassing on a cemetery in Yellamma Banda, Hyderabad after Hindu extremists filed a complaint against him. The All India Christian Council (AICC) reported that the pastor had decided to upgrade the public graveyard and on April 5 had submitted a memorandum to a local official, as well as approached the municipal commissioner through a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), requesting permission. He sought to construct a fence, install lights and construct a small cabin in the Yellamma Banda graveyard. After receiving verbal approval from MLA Bhiksa Yadav, the pastor and his co-workers began leveling the surface of the cemetery. On observing this activity, Hindu extremists filed a complaint against the pastor for illegally encroaching on public land, according to the AICC. At around 1:30 a.m., officers arrested Pastor Samuel for illegal trespassing. At around 7 a.m., about 50 pastors met with MLA Yadav, who promised to intervene with the sub-inspector of police and other authorities. AICC representative Moses Vattippali told Compass that the pastor was released on bail on April 18 after the intervention of the area AICC leaders.

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