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ICC Note:

A Christian in India’s Chhattisgarh state was arrested last week for distributing Christian brochures. According to reports, the Christian remains in custody and has not been offered bail for the “crime” he has committed. India’s constitution provides its citizens full religious freedom including the right to fully profess, practice and propagate ones faith. It would seem here that local police in Chhattisgarh have given into pressure from Hindu hardliners and decided to deny this Christian his constitutional rights.  

5/18/2016 India (Asia News) – Police arrested an evangelical Christian in Chhattisgarh for distributing brochures with excerpts from the Gospel, Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told Asia News.

Umesh Patel was arrested last week in Dhamtari (about 70 km south of Raipur). He did not engage in any illegal activity, George said. Under India’s constitution, “there is nothing coercive or fraudulent about handing out brochures. This [the arrest] is in effect a violation of the law and of human rights.”

Police charged Patel with forced conversion. However, “people could freely choose to take or not the brochures he was handing out,” the GCIC president noted.

In the State of Chhattisgarh, Hindus are the majority (94.7 percent), whilst Christians constitute a tiny minority (1.9 per cent).

This and the fact that the state government is controlled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) have led “to violence against Christians.”

“Hindutva-inspired extremist groups use BJP policy and police complicity to intimidate and threaten Christians.”

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