12/09/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – On November 26, three Christians, including two pastors, for India’s Uttar Pradesh state were falsely accused of engaging in forced conversions to Christianity by radical Hindu nationalists. These false accusations led to the arrest of all three Christians who remain imprisoned on false charges.
According to Pastor Ramjit, a local pastor from Uttar Pradesh’s Mau district, the incident started on Tuesday, November 26, when seven radicals disrupted a prayer meeting in a Christian home in Dharoura village. Pastor Ramjit reports that about 20 Christians were attending the prayer meeting which was being led by Pastor Omparkash and Pastor Ajay.
When the radicals broke into the Christian home, they used abusive language and demanded that the Christians stop their prayer service immediately. The radicals then threatened to accused the Christians of criminal charges unless they recanted their Christian faith. When this was refused, the radicals called police and accused Pastor Omprakash, Pastor Ajay, and a Christian man named Kapildev of engaging in forced conversions.
According to Pastor Ramjit, police arrested all three Christians and took them to the district police station. The next day, November 27, the three Christians were formally charged with committing crimes under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including India’s blasphemy law.
“There seems to be a well thought out plan by the Hindu radicals to systematically attacks churches and Christians in about 30 villages in the district,” Pastor Ramjit told International Christian Concern (ICC). “There is a sense of anti-Christian sentiment due to the pro-Hindu governments of both the state and the national government. This makes things easy for the attackers.”
Anti-Christians sentiments in Uttar Pradesh have particularly accelerated since media outlets reported the state government’s intention to consider passing an anti-conversion law. Many Christians in Uttar Pradesh are afraid that this proposed law will be misused, as it is in other states in India, to target and harass the Christian community.