Six Christians in India’s Karnataka State Falsely Accused of Crimes as Government Calls for Anti-Conversion Law | Persecution

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Six Christians in India’s Karnataka State Falsely Accused of Crimes as Government Calls for Anti-Conversion Law

09/30/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – In the last ten days, at least six Christians in India’s Karnataka state have been taken into police custody after being falsely accused of a variety of crimes by radical Hindu nationalists. The arrests took place as Karnataka’s BJP-led government publicly announced its intention to enact an anti-conversion law.

On September 26, four Christians were arrested in the Yadagiri District. According to Pastor Sanjay, an eyewitness to the incident, the Christians were attacked by a group of youths as they walked home from Neehalli village. When the police arrived on the scene, the four Christians were arrested and taken to the Central Jail in Gulbraga.

What they have mentioned in the FIR was absolutely nowhere near the truth,” Pastor Sanjay told International Christian Concern (ICC). “It was simply hyped up to suit the narratives of accusations against Christians.

In another incident, a Christian couple was charged under India’s blasphemy law for giving a New Testament to a woman at a railway station.

On September 20, Pastor Anil Kumar and his wife went to the railway station in Jogfalls to collect a bag from the lost and found. After having a good conversation with the woman working the lost and found desk, Pastor Kumar gave the woman a New Testament upon her request.

Immediately, the couple was surrounded by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists who accused them of converting Hindus to Christianity. The mob pressured the woman who received the New Testament into making a false report against Pastor Kumar and his wife. Before being handed over to police, the couple was roughed up by the mob.

Pastor Kumar was able to secure bail for himself, however, he faces a long and arduous legal battle to prove his innocence. Because of the incident, Pastor Kumar shut down the house churches he has been leading for the past two years.

These incidents in Karnataka come at a time in which the BJP-led state government is publicly calling for the enactment of an anti-conversion law. BJP politicians are using anti-Christian narratives to justify the need for the new law.

There is no scope for forced religious conversion in the state,” Araga Jnanendra, Karnataka Home Minister, said on September 21. “Converting someone by offering inducements is against the law as well and I have given strict instructions to the police to take action where necessary.

When it comes to inducement-based conversions, there is an established network,” Jnanendra continued. “We are discussing how to prevent this and an appropriate law will be introduced soon.

Goolihatti Shekar, a state legislator and member of the BJP, claimed that “approximately 20,000 people converted to Christianity in Chitradurga.” He added: “Even my mother has become a Christian. She has been brainwashed not to wear Kumkum or to keep photos of Hindu gods. The entire family is embarrassed because of these developments.

Unfortunately, these false narratives being used by the BJP politicians are already influencing the ground reality for Christians in Karnataka. As the new anti-conversion law is introduced and likely enacted, it is probable that more incidents of Christian persecution will be documented in Karnataka. The suspicion against Christians used to justify the passage of the new law will be the impetus for this surge in persecution.

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