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02/24/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – In January 2021, Raja Kartami, a 20-year-old Christian from India’s Odisha state, was falsely accused of violating the state’s anti-conversion law by his in-laws. The false accusation is the result of months of conflict with Kartami’s in-laws after he converted to Christianity.

Kartami was born into a Hindu family and married his wife, Rambati Madkami, in 2019. In 2020, Kartami’s mother became ill and was unable to recover after many visits to different doctors.

In October 2020, Kartami’s mother asked her son to take her to a Christian pastor for prayer. Kartami contacted a local pastor and they were invited to attend a Sunday worship service where his mother would receive prayer.

After attending the worship service, Kartami’s mother began to recover from her illness. In response, Kartiami, his mother, and his eldest sister began to attend weekly worship services. In December 2020, the three converted to Christianity and were baptized.

When Ramburti’s parents discovered Kartami converted to Christianity, they began to threaten him and his family. They claimed Kartami had accepted a foreign religion and he planned to force their daughter to convert to Christianity. Eventually, Kartami’s in-laws forcefully took Ramburti back to their home.

In January 2021, Ramburti, four months pregnant, left her parent’s home and returned to Kartami. When Ramburti’s parents found out, they attacked Kartami and his family. On January 15, they falsely accused Kartami of kidnapping and attempting to forcefully convert Ramburti to Christianity.

Police arrested Kartami and took him to jail in Malkangiri. During the initial investigation, police determined that Kartami did not kidnap Ramburti, so the kidnapping charges were dropped. However, Kartami remains accused of violating Odisha’s anti-conversion law for allegedly attempting to forcefully convert his wife to Christianity. To date, Kartami remains in jail in Malkangiri.

For interviews, contact Alison Garcia: [email protected].