Eight Christians in India Acquitted of False Forced Conversion Charges
02/20/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – On Tuesday, February 18, a court in India’s Madhya Pradesh state acquitted eight Christians falsely accused of attempting to forcefully convert 60 children to Christianity. The court’s decision brings to a close a two-and-a-half-year legal battle that saw these eight Christians falsely accused of heinous crimes and imprisoned for months.
In May 2017, eight Christians, including six men and two women, were arrested at a train station in Ratlam after they were accused of kidnapping and attempting to forcefully convert 60 children they were accompanying to a summer Bible camp. According to reports at the time, the parents of all 60 children had given their consent for their children to attend the Bible camp and many of them were practicing Christians.
Despite these facts, the eight Christians were arrested and charged with kidnapping and attempted forced conversions. The 60 children were also taking into custody and kept from their parents by authorities for several days.
In response, Christian lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) India turned to the Madhya Pradesh High Court to have the children reunited with their families. Then, after three months of imprisonment, ADF lawyers were able to secure the release of the eight Christians on bail.
On Tuesday, a Criminal Court in Ratlam officially announced the acquittal of the eight Christians. According to Asia News, an explosion of joy was released by the Christian community in the courtroom when the acquittal was read.
“Justice has finally been done,” Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF India, told Asia News. “[However], we must not forget the impact that similar false cases have on families. Nobody should be targeted for their faith. Anti-conversion laws are tools to harass and target Christians and should be repealed because they limit the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution of India.”
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org