Pastor in India Rescued From Mob of Radicals After Being Accused of Conversions

ICC Note:

A Christian pastor in India had to be rescued from a mob of Hindu radicals after being accused of converting local people. The pastor was surrounded by the mob during a Sunday prayer meeting the pastor was holding at another believer’s house. Police were called to bring the pastor to safety. Hindu radicals continue to make headlines as they attack India’s religious minorities. This comes after India’s Prime Minister declared his government would not tolerate religiously motivated violence against India’s religious minorities. 

3/9/2015 India (Christian Today) – A Pentecostal pastor in India had to be rescued by police after being surrounded by right-wing activists who had accused him of converting local people.

Pastor Lal Singh and another man known only as Idaram were bought to a police station in Barwani district following complaints by a local right-wing group. Activists had protested outside Idaram’s house, where a prayer meeting was taking place, shouting anti-Christian slogans.

After the pastor and his colleague were taken to the police station, the protestors surrounded the building, forcing the authorities to detain the two men for longer.

“The [activists] were agitated and would have harmed the pastor had I released him,” Head Constable Rameshwar Pande told The Indian Express.

The officer in charge of Rajpur Police Station, Asharam Varma, told the newspaper that the accusations of conversion were found to be false, and the men were not charged.

Five states in India currently have anti-conversion laws which state that those who wish to convert to another religion must first gain official permission. Religious leaders are also required by law to report conversions or risk a three-year jail sentence themselves.

However, a fifth of the population identify with religions other than Hinduism, and there have been increasing calls for the government to strengthen protections for minority groups.

Prompted by the urging of Barack Obama on a recent visit to India, in addition to a spate of church attacks in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to promote religious freedom.

“We cannot accept violence against any religion on any pretext and I strongly condemn such violence. My government will act strongly in this regard,” he said last month.

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