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03/28/2022 India (International Christian Concern) – Yesterday, two Christian pastors were jailed on alleged forced conversion charges in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. A mob of radical Hindu nationalists broke into the worship hall in Rajouti village and assaulted the congregation during Sunday worship. During the chaos created by the nationalists, nearly 15 policemen came into the church and arrested the pastor and a member of his congregation. The two Christians were later sent to Jaspur jail.

Sources reaching out to International Christian Concern describe the immense pressure by the leaders of right-wing groups on Christians to reconvert to Hinduism. When Christians in the village refused to recant their faith, the mob attacked the Sunday gathering and disrupted the worship service. Prior to the attack, a false complaint of illegal conversion activities was reported to the police. The police arrested the two pastors and filed the First Information Report (FIR), accusing the pastors of being in breach of the state anti-conversion law. The pastors oversee a congregation of 25 Christian families that regularly gather in a makeshift hall for worship. Despite the constant harassment by radical Hindu groups, these families stand strong in their faith against the threats and abuses from the Hindu nationalists.

The state BJP president Vishnudev Sai reportedly belonged to the same village of Rajouti where the attack took place. His party’s failure to bring the 25 Christian families back to Hinduism may have led to him using his leverage with the police to attack the believers with impunity. Social boycotts, disruption of worship and service, violent assaults, and imprisonment of Pastors and Christians are commonplace. This trend escalated recently when extreme right-wing groups openly gave hate speeches in their rallies and public meetings. We pray for the safety and resilience of our fellow Christians in India.