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ICC Note: Three Christians have been falsely accused of forced conversions in India’s Rajasthan state. This is in spite of the fact that all three Christians were hundreds of miles away from the place they were accused of committing the forced conversions on the day of the incident. Hindu radicals often use false accusations of forced conversion to harass Christians or justify assaults on Christian leaders.

07/11/2018 India (Morning Star News) – When evangelists in India were accused of fraudulent conversion in a village at a time when they were hundreds of miles from it, they knew powers beyond their control were at play.

Pastor Kasiram Meghwal, 46, was leading his church in Choru, Rajasthan, 410 miles from the village near Khajuwala where he was accused of trying to fraudulently convert people on May 20, his attorney said.

Evangelist Sahiram Nayak, 34, lives 136 miles from Khajuwala in Sri Ganganagar and was attending his church in Rai Singh Nagar at the time, the lawyer said. A third accused Christian, 32-year-old pastor Vijender Singh, was leading Sunday service at his church in a different area of Khajuwala at the time of the alleged fraudulent conversion attempt at Hindus’ homes, according to the attorney.

The three Christians came together in the Khajuwala area on May 22 to proclaim Christ to villagers, but the First Action Report (FIR) filed by area resident Rameshwar Lal alleges that on May 20 they offered him 100,000 rupees (US$1,450) and 50,000 rupees (US$730) to another area Hindu to convert, attorney Subodh Mathews told Morning Star News.

Having obtained bail for a previous false charge, the three Christians were devastated to be jailed again on May 24 under a statute against “outraging religious feelings.” Their plea for bail was denied.

“We wept before the Lord, but we never abandoned our faith,” Pastor Singh told Morning Star News. “We met many people inside the prison, including a few people who told us that they were in the habit of committing murders for money, and that they related to some extremist religious groups as well. They told us that they would have gladly killed us, had they seen us outside.”

Undaunted, the Christians told the convicts about Christ and held a Sunday worship service inside the prison on May 27, he said.

“We got the opportunity to share inside the jail to murderers,” he said.

With much difficulty they were able to obtain bail on May 29 and were released.

On May 22 they distributed Christian literature and New Testaments among families of village 16 BD and then went to the home of Kaku Singh in village 14 BD, near Khajuwala in Bikaner District, Rajasthan, Pastor Singh told Morning Star News. After inviting them in, Kaku Singh told them that his wife was suffering from cancer, he said.

“We shared the gospel with him and prayed for his wife and decided to leave,” but Kaku Singh insisted on offering them tea, Pastor Singh said. While the three evangelists were waiting, Rameshwar Lal called them out of the house on the pretext of asking questions about the literature they had given him earlier, the pastor said.

When they stepped out of the house, a man named Darshan Singh suddenly attacked them, he said.

“He caught me from my collar, slapped me and pushed me down,” Pastor Singh said. “He started to verbally abuse us using filthy language. They punched Sahiram too.”

Soon a mob of about 80 people surrounded them, carrying wooden sticks with intent to attack the Christians, he said.

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For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]