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05/16/2022 India (International Christian Concern) – Last week, authorities in the Basti district of Uttar Pradesh summoned several Pastors to the police station. The officers instructed the Pastors to cease all religious activities, including house Church gatherings in the district, unless obtaining prior permission from the District Magistrate. Failing to do so would result in the pastors being sent to jail on conversion charges.

According to local sources, authorities called all the Pastors in the district, telling them to report to the police station no later than 6:00 pm last Wednesday. Several pastors arrived and were accused of receiving foreign funds for illegal conversions into the Christian faith. The Pastors were told to cease their religious practices as a direct order from the government.

One of the Pastors presents told ICC, “Around five pastors were allowed inside where SDM and CO [authorities] were, and others were outside of the building.” He lamented, saying, “we are worried for our congregations about what would happen on Sunday if the administration is snatching our rights. Where should we go?”.

The police drafted a letter on behalf of the Pastors, stating that they would cease all religious activity, then forced them to sign. One Pastor who requested anonymity queried with ICC, “Is the Government running by the constitution, or [is the] constitution [being] managed by the Government? the constitution guarantees the fundamental right of freedom of religion and belief, [yet] here the officers in the government say that they were directed to stop the prayer meetings.”

Uttar Pradesh has seen the most significant incidents of Christian persecution over the years. Not only are the radical nationalists pressuring the Christian population, but the officers are supposed to protect law and order as well. We continue to pray for our Indian family.