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ICC Note:

Two Christian women in India’s Karnataka State have been arrested and charged with the crime of forced conversions after local radicals caught them distributing religious texts to Hindu homes. Surprisingly, these Christian women are being charged with a crime that is not even in the local criminal code. To date, only six states in India have adopted “anti-forced conversion” laws and Karnataka is not one of them. Often, Hindu radicals use the charge of forced conversions to harass Christians seeking to share the Gospel with their Hindu neighbors, a right protected by Article 25 of India’s constitution. 

09/07/2017 India (Asia News) – In Karnataka, two Pentecostal Christians were arrested by the police on charges of forced conversions. The women, Mercy and Roselina, are followers of the “New Life” community. The nationalist radicals claim they visited the houses of local Hindus to distribute the religious material of their organization and proselytize.

Speaking to Asia News Sajan K. George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said, “The GCIC condemns the detention of the two Christians, who are not involved in any criminal or illegal activity.”

According to the Christian leader, the women “were doing only what the Constitution, Article 25, guarantees. The police did not find them in possession of prohibited or dangerous material, weapons, or anti-national texts. There were no complaints from those to whom the sermons were addressed. No hate speech or complaints of forced conversions.”

The arrest of the two women took place on September 5 in the village of Kavalapadoor, in Bantwal Taluk, in the Dakshina district of Kachada. According to Hindu activists, the Christians visited six Hindu houses, when men were not in the house. Then they distributed texts published by “New Life” and tried to convert those present. Having heard of the incident, some Hindu activists came to the scene and blocked the two women. In their view, they did not provide convincing reasons to justify their presence in the houses. At that point the activists “escorted” them to the police station.

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