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ICC Note:

Weeks after Christians were arrested by police at a railway station in India’s Madhya Pradesh state, the High Court has reprimanded railway police and ordered in investigation into the arrests and treatment of the Christians. According to reports, two Christians were arrested for kidnapping and attempting to forcefully convert seven children they were accompanying at the railway station. These criminal accusations were proven to be false after the parents of the children reported to the police that the children were all practicing Christians and that they were accompanied by the two Christians with their consent. Still, police refused to release the children to the parents for a week. Will the court’s investigation show the influence of local Hindu radical groups? 

11/20/2017 India (The Indian Express) – Nearly three weeks after two Christians were arrested at Indore station on charges of kidnapping and converting children, Madhya Pradesh High Court has reprimanded railway police and ordered an investigation into allegations that the children were assaulted.

“The conduct of the SHO, Police Station, GRP Indore, in not handing over the custody of the children to their parents when they were brought to the railway station raises various doubts over his way of functioning and discharge of duties as SHO. Once the documents were shown to him by the parents and the children wanted to go with their parents, this court really does not know what prevented the SHO from handing over the children to their parents. Not only this, there is a total inaction on the part of SP, GRP, Indore, in not taking impartial view of the matter,” observed a division bench of Justices S C Sharma and Alok Verma.

On October 23, Hindu Jagran Manch activists made seven children get off a Mumbai-bound Awantika Express at Indore station after accusing Anita Joseph, who was to travel to Mumbai, and Amrit Kumar, who had come to see them off, of kidnapping and forcibly converting them.

While Anita and Amrit were sent to jail, the children were sent to a shelter home, the location of which was not known to their parents. This, despite the parents telling GRP officials that they had consented to the trip and showing documents to establish that all of them were practicing Christians.

Thereafter, the parents filed a habeas corpus petition before the High Court. On October 30, the bench asked every child, aged between 5 and 17, if they were being taken to Mumbai forcibly. After hearing their replies, the court directed that they be immediately handed over to their parents.

In the order dated November 17, the court directed Addl SP, Mhow, Pankaj Kumawat, to probe the case against Anita and Amrit as well as complaints that the children were assaulted by the Hindu Jagran Manch activists.

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