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ICC Note:

Three Christians in India’s Madhya Pradesh state have been arrested and charged with multiple crimes, including causing forced conversions and sedition. This arrests follow an incident earlier this month when a Christian wedding was broken up by Hindu radicals claiming the couple being married were forcefully converted to Christianity. When news broke that the couple had in fact converted from Hinduism to Christianity three years prior, the radicals turned on the couple and threatened to charge them with sedition because of their conversion. These charges come despite the fact that India’s constitution provides its citizens with full religious freedom, the right to believe, practice and propagate ones faith. 

5/23/2016 India (The Indian Express) – Three Christians were arrested on Sunday from near a prayer hall in Aber village in Satna district on charges of allegedly conducting conversions by force and hurting religious sentiments, said local police. The accused were later sent to judicial custody after a local court rejected their bail application.

Police said they had acted on a complaint from three villagers who alleged that they were promised jobs after converting to Christianity a fortnight ago but felt hurt when attempts were made to tear images of Hindu gods during Sunday prayers at the hall. Residents said police were accompanied by right-wing activists during the arrests.

Pastor V A Anthony of Brethren Assembly and his wife Prabha, who live in Satna but conduct weekly prayers in Aber, and another woman were taken into custody on a written complaint from Rambhan Adivasi, Hemraj Varma and Prashant Gupta, all residents of Goraiya village, police said.

Madhya Pradesh State Backward Classes Commission member Laxmi Yadav said he was present at the Kotar Police Station when the FIR was registered.

“I will ensure that the sedition charge is invoked against Pastor Anthony because it’s clear from the complaint that he spoke against the nation,’’ Yadav told The Indian Express.

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