India: Christians suffer arrest and imprisonment in Uttar Pradesh, ”Our lives are in danger”

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – At least 30 Christians were imprisoned on false charges in India’s Uttar Pradesh state last month, as Hindu nationalists continue to abuse the state’s harsh anti-conversion laws and accuse believers of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

In one incident recounted by ICC, Hindu radicals stormed into the home of a local pastor on May 31st and dragged him outside, and beat him up. When the police arrived, they arrested and imprisoned the church leader on false charges of forced conversion, and did nothing about the severe assault on him.

“The anti-conversion laws adopted in 11 Indian states are often weaponized against Christians, allowing authorities to jail them with little regard for due process,” ICC said in its report of the attack.

In another incident two days earlier, a group of young Hindu radicals invaded a church service and began harassing the congregation of around 40 people, ICC reports.

The radicals shoved the pastor and stole his Bible. Again, the police arrested the pastor, not the perpetrators.

“We are scared to even conduct small group prayers even that can be framed as forcible conversions,” a house church pastor told ICC.

“Our lives are in danger, as Christian identity could put us behind the bars, we don’t see any way out, only God should intervene.”

In a statement about the situation for Christians in India, ICC President Jeff King said, “India’s anti-conversion laws are not a means to protect religious freedom, but rather a mechanism for the government to oppress and punish religious minorities. Our Indian brothers and sisters are facing increased levels of persecution since the adoption of these laws in 11 states. India claims to be the world’s largest democracy, yet shamelessly violates human rights. We pray for the continued resilience of the Indian Church and for the injustice to come to an end.”

Led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Hindu Party since 2014, India now ranks 10th on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted on account of their faith.

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