ICC Note: Hindu extremists in India’s Uttar Pradesh state have put pressure on local police to file false forced conversion charges against a pastor and 270 other Christians. These criminal charges have been filed even after police told the accused Christians their initial inquiry had not turned up any evidence to support the accusations of the extremists. Emboldened by this victory, the extremists have now escalated to attacking individuals trying to attend the local church.
09/11/2018 India (Morning Star News) – Dismissing an initial investigation that cleared Christians of wrongdoing, police under pressure from Hindu extremists are pursuing false charges against a pastor and 270 others, sources said.
After appearing to halt Hindu nationalists’ efforts to shut down a large church in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state, police who had told the pastor that they turned up no evidence of fraudulent conversion are now denying the initial inquiry took place, sources said.
Hindu nationalists filed false charges of fraudulent conversion, mounted a media slander campaign and attacked congregation members trying to attend the 7,000-member Jivan Jyoti Satsang Prarthana Kendra church in Bhulandih village, Jaunpur District, where the pastor suffered police brutality last year, according to area sources.
After Hindu nationalists Brijesh Singh and Siddharth Singh filed charges of fraudulent conversion against 45-year-old pastor Durga Prasad Yadav, Hindu extremists on Aug. 5 stopped Christians en route to worship services, according to video captured by Deep Gupta, editor and chief of National TV News.
“I had placed hidden cameras all over the place,” Gupta told Morning Star News. “About 10-15 of them were stopping the three-wheelers going towards the church filled with people. They broke the vehicles and threatened the drivers to not carry passengers to church. The people were made to leave the transport.”
The Hindu extremists threatened the Christians, beat the drivers and broke the three-wheeled vehicles going in the direction of the church, Pastor Yadav told Morning Star News.
“Despite threats, people still came,” Pastor Yadav said. “Commuters who were asked to leave the public transport walked as much as four kilometers to come to church, and this went on for two weeks, even after the Aug. 5 Sunday [the church also has Tuesday services].”
For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.