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01/04/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – On December 28, four Christians in India’s Andhra Pradesh state were arrested after they were seen reading their Bibles and posing for a photograph near a Hindu temple. According to Crux, the four Christians were released on bail after appearing in court.

The four Christians were reportedly arrested in Srisailam, located in India’s Andhra Pradesh state. According to Crux, the four Christians were reading their Bibles in a public park close to the Mallikarjuna Temple, a popular tourist destination.

The four Christians were spotted by security guards opening their Bibles and posing for a photo. The guards took the Christians to the local police station where they were accused of violating a 2007 law that forbids the propagation of other religions in places of worship or prayer. After appearing in court, Crux reports that all four Christians were released on bail.

[This law] should only apply to the temple premises and not to nearby areas and public parks,” Father Anthony Raj Thaumma, Executive Secretary of the Federation of Telugu Churches, told Crux. “The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches has made representations to the government in the past regarding this matter, fearing its misuse.

According to Christians in Andhra Pradesh, the 2007 law, sometimes referred to as the “temple town” law, is often interpreted broadly so that it can be misused to forbid non-Hindu religious activity in towns where important Hindu temples are located. Essentially, this misuse of the law allows radical Hindu nationalists to make the practice of Christianity illegal in locations with Hindu temples.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].