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ICC Note:

Eight Christians in India’s Uttar Pradesh state were arrested last Sunday for holding a prayer meeting after police received false reports from local Hindu radicals that religious conversions were taking place. The Christians were ultimately booked for holding an illegal assembly that disturbed the public peace. False accusations against Christians in India are common. Hindu radicals often falsely accuse Christians of crimes such as kidnapping and forced conversions as a way to harass Christian communities. These false accusations also have the effect of giving Christian communities bad reputations to their Hindu neighbors. 

11/16/2017 India (The Christian Times) – Indian authorities arrested eight Christians at a prayer meeting in Uttar Pradesh state on Sunday following complaints about religious conversion.

According to an eyewitness, nine activists of a right-wing organization disrupted the meeting at Ahladpur village under Sarai Akil police station and threatened the congregants before returning with a police team.

“We took the action after receiving complaints from a group of people that religious conversion was under way,” Kaushambi superintendent of police Pradeep Gupta told Hindustan Times.

Among the arrested Christians were Sone Lal, a farmer who was leading the prayer meeting. “Around 300 people assembled as usual on Sunday morning. Suddenly eight to nine people barged in and demanded that the prayer meeting be stopped. They also threatened us,” he recounted.

“After 20 minutes they returned with the police who took nine of us to the police station. One Kaushal Kumar, 16, was a minor. Hence the police let him go and booked the rest of us under section 151,” he continued.

The eight Christians were booked under Section 151 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which holds that joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons, that may cause disturbance of public peace, after orders to disperse is punishable with a maximum jail term of six months, or fine, or both.

Many of those attending the prayer meeting were reportedly Hindus who claimed that they started going to such meetings after witnessing miracles in the lives of their friends and acquaintances.

Similar disruptions have reportedly occurred at other prayer meetings in nearby Birner village on Oct. 29 and Nov. 5.

Christians in other Indian states have also faced arrests for allegedly violating India’s anti-conversion laws.

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