‘Revengeful drive’ following election behind spate of Christian arrests in India (Open Doors UK)

Local believers and Open Doors partners believe a ‘revengeful drive’ following the BJP’s lost majority in the recent election is behind an increase in hostility against religious minorities in India, including a spate of Christian arrests in Uttar Pradesh in June.

By Tim

At least 14 Christians in Uttar Pradesh, India, were arrested last month for alleged forced conversions in what is believed to be a response to the BJP party losing its majority in the recent election.

The arrests took place between 7 and 23 June, with most happening during prayer meetings. Two pastors were among those detained. Police acted in response to complaints from local villagers.

“A revengeful drive”

Uttar Pradesh is one of India’s 11 states with an anti-conversion law, prohibiting any attempt to force someone to convert to another religion (than Hinduism) through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by fraudulent means. These are the accusations often levelled at Christians, when all they are doing is freely expressing or sharing their faith, such as gathering for prayer or telling a friend about Jesus.

Whilst provisions in the law stipulate that only a person who has been forced to convert, or a blood relative of theirs, can register a FIR (First Information Report) with the police, research has shown that most police reports are based on complaints by Hindutva groups – who believe that to be Indian is to be Hindu – to target Christians.

According to local Christians and Open Doors partners, the reason for the increase in arrests is because the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost significantly in recent elections – something both the party and radical Hindu groups did not expect.

“The anti-conversion laws are misused and Christians are arrested on false charges”OPEN DOORS LOCAL PARTNER

This story was originally published in opendoorsuk.org. Read the full story here.

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