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ICC Note: Police in Uttarakhand, located in northern India, arrested a Pentecostal pastor after Hindu radicals broke up a Sunday prayer service being led by the pastor. The pastor was arrested and detained without charge but was later released from police custody. Attacks on Christians and the arbitrary arrest of Christian leaders in India is common. Hindu radicals often level false claims of forced conversions against Christian pastors to get them arrested or justify violent attacks.

03/05/2018 India (Asia News) – A Pentecostal pastor was arrested yesterday in Uttarakhand, northern India, without charges being presented against him. Sajan K George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told Asia News, “The police arrested and kept the Rev. Vipin Kumar at the Kotwali Laksar police station. In the end the pastor was released without charges.”

The President of the GCIC explains that Rev. Kumar “was leading a prayer meeting in the village when, without any provocation, a crowd of right-wing thugs interrupted the gathering. The officers arrested the pastor and locked him in the police station at 11 am. They questioned him and only released [him] at 7:46 pm.”

George went on to complain, “While the right-wing henchmen interrupted the prayers and caused disturbances to public order, an innocent Christian was arrested. Thank heaven the pastor was not indicted. In any case, it is a paradox of justice that right-wing extremists escape the hands of the law even if they terrorize religious minorities and innocent people are detained and arrested.”

George reports that “Pentecostal Christians are treated as second-class citizens.” Then he expresses concern because “during the holy period of Lent [there is] a peak of [episodes] of interruptions of prayers, intimidation and arrests of the faithful.”

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