India: Evangelical Pastor jailed under Uttar Pradesh anti-conversion law

Monday, February 13, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: , ,

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – An evangelical Christian pastor in India’s Uttar Pradesh state has been in jail for three months awaiting trial on trumped-up charges of violating local anti-religious conversion legislation and other laws, Morning Star News reports.

The pastor of an Evangelical Church of India (ECI) congregation in Fatehpur, Vijay Masih, was first arrested and charged under Uttar Pradesh’s Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act in April last year, but was released after three days, Morning Star News reports. However, Hindu extremists brought new false allegations against him, and he was rearrested on October 30. He has been in prison since then.

“We are going through troubled times, and we don’t know when this will come to an end,” Pastor Masih’s wife, Preeti told Morning Star News.

Pastor Masih is one of 50 Christians in total who have been arrested under Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion legislation in April last year. “The initial complaint was filed by an official of the local Hindu extremist Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) against 35 identified Christians and 20 unidentified Christians on April 15,” Morning Star News said in its report.

“The Christians are baselessly accused under provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, along with unfounded claims of forgery, cheating, and criminal conspiracy,” Morning Star News added.

Ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party since 2014, India ranks 11th on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2023 of the top 50 countries

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