India: Six Christian women arrested, imprisoned

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Six Christian women in India’s Uttar Pradesh state were charged with forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity and were imprisoned on July 30, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. With the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party in power since 2014, India’s Christians have become increasingly vulnerable to harsh anti-conversion laws which are frequently abused by Hindu extremists looking to harass and imprison believers.

The six women were attending a birthday party in a Christian home when a mob of around 15 radicalized Hindu nationalists stormed in and accused the believers of forcing Hindus to convert, ICC said. The mob called the police, took videos of the believers, stole Bibles, and seized Christian books as evidence.

When the police arrived, they chose to arrest the six women among the 100 or so Christians who had gathered at the party, ICC said. The women were charged with violating Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion law.

In a statement to ICC, a local pastor who asked to remain anonymous said: “The six women who are in jail are very poor economically. Among the six women, one is physically challenged, one is a widow with three small children, and one is a single unmarried girl. The situation with these families is very pathetic; the family members are accusing the local pastor that he is responsible for all of their trouble, and he has to bear all the expenses and bring them out of the jail as soon as possible.”

Reports of persecution of Christians in Uttar Pradesh have intensified since the state was among the first in India to introduce an anti-conversion law. “There have been over 80 significant incidents of anti-Christian persecution in Uttar Pradesh in just the first five months of 2022,” ICC said in its report. “This trend is highly concerning, and we continue to pray for the safety and wellbeing of Christians in India.”

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