Eight Christians in Central India Attacked and Falsely Accused of Forced Conversions
12/12/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – Eight Christians in India’s Madhya Pradesh state have been attacked and taken into police custody in just the past seven days. In all of these attacks, radical Hindu nationalists used false allegations of forced religious conversions to justify their assaults and land these eight Christians in jail.
In the first incident, Pastor Rahul Para was arrested by police after he was accused by radicals of engaging in forced religious conversions. According to local sources in the Jhabua district, Pastor Para was arrested in the middle of the night and his wife and children were forced to vacate their rented home. As a result, Pastor Para was jailed in the local police station as his wife and children were left with nowhere to go.
In a second incident, Pastor Pascal Vadakhiya, also from Jhabua, and three other Christians were attacked by radicals after they were found carrying Bibles on December 7. According to Pastor Pascal, a gang of radicals, led by Khower Singh, stopped Pastor Pascal and the other Christians while they were traveling by motorbike. When the radicals discovered their Bibles, they beat the four Christians and accused them of engaging in forced religious conversions. The Christians were then handed over to police and were detained for two consecutive days.
“We have been warned by the mob not to enter into the village,” Pastor Pascal told International Christian Concern (ICC). According to Pastor Pascal, he leads a weekly worship service in this village for nearly 200 Christians. “I am concerned about the present situation for the Christian of that area,” Pastor Pascal explained.
In a third incident, another three Christians were arrested on false forced religious conversion charges in Bhadi village, located in the Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. According to a local Christian, members of the Hindu Yuva Sangatan, a local radical group, attacked the Christians has they held a prayer service.
Following the attack, three Christians were handed over to police and accused of being involved in forced religious conversions. These Christians were arrested and had their Bibles and other Christian literature confiscated by police.
Radicals often used false accusations of forced religious conversions to justify assaults and harass Christian leaders. In Madhya Pradesh, an anti-forced conversion law has been part of the state’s criminal code since the late 1960’s. However, despite a high number of false accusations and arrested, no individual has ever been convicted of committing the crime of forced religious conversions.
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